Can I have contact with my Grandchild?
Breakdowns in relationships are upsetting for all families, but for grandparents it can be even more distressing if their contact with a grandchild is affected.
Unfortunately, grandparents do not have an automatic right to contact with their grandchildren but the Court does have the power to make an Order for grandparent contact where it would be in the best interests of the child. The Court simply has to give permission for this first.
The Court will consider the grandparent’s connection with the grandchild and the importance of the child maintaining a relationship with their wider family. Providing there are no concerns about welfare then permission to make an application for contact will usually be granted.
The child’s parents will be given notice of the application to the Court and will be requested to attend the Court hearings. Prior to the first Court hearing, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) will make telephone contact with all parties to understand their positions and they will carry out checks with the police and social services to ensure there are no safeguarding issues.
If there is parental objection or any welfare concerns about the contact it may be necessary for CAFCASS to prepare a more detailed report. The Court will then encourage the parents and grandparents to reach an agreement and as long as the court considers it to be in the best interests of the grandchild, a contact order can be made. If an agreement cannot be reached then the Court will make the final decision.
It is advisable to receive legal advice throughout this process to ensure that sufficient evidence is filed with the Court to prove to support your application and to show that it is in the child’s best interests to have contact with you.
The family Courts have to consider the welfare of the child as the first consideration when looking at contact and it is acknowledged that grandparents play a significant role in a grandchild’s life. If you can demonstrate that contact will be positive for the child then unless there is evidence of abuse or violence or unless it will have a negative impact of the rest of the family relationships, it is rare that the Court would refuse a grandparent contact.
If you need help or advice about contact with your grandchild, Wolferstans have an experienced team of solicitors able to assist. Please call us to discuss your situation further on 01752 292384.