Do I Have a Right to See My Grandchild?

By Karen Pritchard

Principal Associate

We often find that a grandparent has not been able to spend time with their grandchild because their own child (i.e the grandchild’s parent) has had their own time with the child restricted or prevented. It is often more cost-effective for the grandparent to support their own child in making a court application. However, it is possible for a grandparent to make their own application to the court for an order that their child can spend time (or live) with them. However, grandparents do not have an automatic right to make that court application in the same way that a child’s parents do.

Instead, a grandparent must first apply for the court’s permission to make the application, known as “leave”, (unless that child has lived with them for a period of three years or more in the previous five years (ending not more than three months before the application)).

When deciding whether a grandparent has permission to make the application, the court will consider the nature of their application (i.e. whether they wish for the child to spend time or live with them), their connection to the child and any risk of disruption to the child’s life.

If permission is granted, the Court will then apply the same considerations that are taken into account when a parent makes an application in relation to their child. The Court’s paramount consideration will be the welfare of the child concerned, with consideration to the following factors:

  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  • The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances
  • The child’s age, sex, background, and any characteristics of the child which the Court considers relevant
  • Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering
  • How capable each of the child’s parents and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant (such as the grandparent that is making the application), is of meeting the child’s needs
  • The range of powers available to the Court.

The Court will, where possible, try to ensure that a child has a relationship with his or her wider family. We often find that, particularly in cases where children have experienced the separation of their parents, continuing to have a good relationship with their grandparents can be a great source of comfort and stability. 

For more information and to find out how we can help you, please contact us on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch.