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Grandparents' Rights Solicitors
Grandparents have no automatic rights with respect to their grandchildren under UK law, but it is often possible to establish specific rights with the agreement of the children’s parents or through the courts.
HCB’s experienced family lawyers can help establish your grandparents’ rights in a variety of situations. This includes where your child has split up from your grandchildren’s other parent, where you are estranged from your grandchildren’s parents or where you have concerns about the level of care your grandchildren are receiving.
We can also help you get custody of your grandchildren where appropriate, including where their parents are deceased, or unable or unwilling to care for their children. If your grandchildren have been placed in your care, whether by their parents or by your local council, we can help you take steps to secure your legal rights to make decisions on the children’s behalf, offering stability and security for both you and your grandchildren.
We have the expertise to find a fast, effective solution that protects your rights as a grandparent, as well as the best interests of your grandchildren. Wherever possible, we will find a solution through negotiation with the children’s parents, but where necessary we are fully prepared to pursue the matter in court to achieve a satisfactory resolution.
Speak to our expert family law solicitors across the UK now about any issues relating to grandparents’ rights by contacting your local HCB office or using the enquiry form below for a swift response.
Our children law services for grandparents
HCB’s family law solicitors help grandparents throughout the UK to secure contact arrangements and, if required, custody of their grandchildren. We will take the time to listen to your issues, concerns and aims and then explain your options to you in plain English to ensure you understand what action is most appropriate for your situation. Our focus is on defending your rights as grandparents and protecting the wellbeing of your grandchildren.
Getting access to your grandchildren
Unfortunately grandparents have no basic legal right to have contact with or to visit their grandchildren. However, family courts tend to be sympathetic to the valuable contribution grandparents can bring to a child’s life.
If you are being refused contact or visitation with your grandchildren, our family lawyers can help you take the necessary steps to establish a legal right to contact wherever possible. In the first instance, this often involves trying to negotiate an agreement with the parents. If this is not successful or appropriate, we can apply to the courts on your behalf for a Court Order forcing the children’s parents to give you access.
Getting custody of your grandchildren
If your grandchildren’s parents are unwilling, unable or unfit to care for their children, you may want to take custody of your grandchildren yourself. Sometimes this is relatively straightforward, especially where the child’s parents are deceased or have been deemed legally unfit to care for the children, while at other times the process can be more complicated and time-consuming.
You may need to apply for a Child Arrangements Order or a Special Guardianship Order if you want your grandchildren to live with you on a long-term basis. Alternatively, your grandchildren may be placed with you by your local council on a “Family and Friends Care” basis, meaning you will effectively be fostering your grandchildren. Each of these options has specific implications for you and your grandchildren’s care that you will need to be aware of before deciding what action to pursue.
Our family lawyers can talk through the various options with you so you can make a decision about what you feel will provide the best situation for your grandchildren. We can then support and guide you through the process of establishing custody, including making the relevant Court Order applications where required and representing you in court if necessary.
How we can help you establish grandparents’ rights
We will use all available methods to help you establish legal rights to your grandchildren, whether through voluntary agreements with the children’s parents, or through court action where required.
It is usually in everyone’s best interests if any disputes over your grandchildren can be settled through a voluntary agreement. Family mediation works by having all of the parties involved in the dispute sit down with a trained, neutral mediator. The mediator will then guide you through discussing all of the issues and concerns involved and attempt to help you reach a mutually acceptable resolution.
This kind of constructive, non-confrontational approach to family dispute resolution is usually the fastest, most cost-effective and least disruptive way to find a solution to issues involving children. It can also make it easier to maintain, or re-establish, a positive relationship with your grandchildren’s parents, which can make life much easier going forwards and contribute to a good environment for your grandchildren.
As a grandparent, if you need to go to court to try to establish access to your grandchildren, you will usually first need to be grant permission by a family court to apply for a Contact Order. The courts will then consider the strength of the established connection you have with your grandchildren, the type of access you are aiming for and whether your application could potentially result in any harm to the child’s wellbeing.
If the court is happy for you to proceed, you will then need to apply for a Contact Order to legally gain access to your grandchildren. If one or both of the children’s parents object, you will likely need to attend a full court hearing for a final decision.
Our specialist family law solicitors can support and guide you through the entire process of obtaining a Contact Order, ensuring you have the best chance of success. This includes helping you put together a strong case for why you should be granted permission to apply, putting together and submitting your application for a Contact Order and representing you in court if one or both parents object.
Child Arrangements Orders
If you need to take custody of your grandchildren, a Child Arrangements Order can be used to decide specific issues about their care, including establishing that they should live with you and what contact, if any, their parents can have with them. As a grandparent, you will normally need to get permission from a court before applying for a Child Arrangements Order.
We can help you gain permission to apply and make the application for a Child Arrangements Order, ensuring your case it put in the best possible light to maximise your chances of success.
Special Guardianship Orders
A Special Guardianship Order grants you parental responsibility over a child, meaning you have the legal right to make decisions about the child’s care. This means you can make day-to-day decisions on behalf of your grandchild, for example where they live, where they go to school and what medical care they receive.
A Special Guardianship Order does not take parental responsibility away from the child’s parents, however, it is only in exceptional circumstances that you would need to consult the parents about decisions related to the child’s life. Specific issues you would need the parents permission for include changing the child’s surname, placing the child up for adoption or granting parental responsibility to an additional person.
We can advise you on a when a Special Guardianship Order is likely to be appropriate and guide you through the legal process of obtaining the order.
Frequently Asked Questions about grandparents’ rights
What does it mean to be the legal guardian of a child?
If you become the legal guardian of your grandchildren, you will have the same rights and responsibilities as if you were their parent. This includes taking care of their wellbeing and safety and making important decisions about the child’s life.
What is a kinship carer?
“Kinship carer” is another name for a Family and Friends Carer. This means you are looking after your grandchild on a long-term basis, but you do not have parental responsibility, limiting your legal right to make decisions about the child’s care.
Do grandparents get paid for childcare?
If you are looking after your grandchildren on a permanent basis, you can apply for Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and other benefits that parents get.
Why choose HCB for your family law dispute?
HCB is a network of 24 law offices nationwide, meaning we can offer an effective local service for families across the UK. The size of our network means we have a large number of expert family law solicitors on our team, giving us both breadth and depth of knowledge across a wide range of areas. That means we can handle virtually any situation that arises involving your family in house, saving you time and money.
Our family law team includes members of the Law Society’s Children Panel and members of Resolution – a network of legal professionals dedicated to constructive, non-confrontational methods of family dispute resolution. Several of our team are Resolution Accredited Specialists in various areas of family law, meaning they have the highest level of training and expertise in their areas of specialisation.
We also have many solicitors in our team who are highly experienced at advising, supporting and representing grandparents during court proceedings. This means whichever way your case goes and whatever action is required, we can offer the best possible chance of a positive outcome.
We aim to keep our pricing transparent, offering fixed fees wherever possible. This means you know what you will be paying and how our fees compare to our competitors. Where there is likely to be additional expenditure, we will let you know at the earliest opportunity and make sure you are clear exactly what the additional cost covers and why it is necessary.
We offer some services on a fixed fee basis, so please have a look at our pricing for more information.
Get in touch with our expert grandparents’ rights solicitors throughout the UK
To consult our highly experienced family lawyers across the UK about any issues related to your grandchildren and grandparents rights, please contact your local HCB office or use the enquiry form below and we will get back to you promptly.
When there’s a fight to be had the team did not back away, however, when there was a deal to be done the team did it.
Grandparents: if access to your grandchildren is an issue, take advice from HCB Solicitors.