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I am a Grandparent - What Rights do I have?

View profile for Hannah Bowes
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I for one can understand and relate to the significance and importance of a child’s relationship with their grandparents. However, in the legal world, whilst a Court would acknowledge the importance of their role in a child’s life, their rights are limited.

In the modern world, grandparents are often a significant presence in a child’s life and with the uprise of childcare costs means that they spend a lot of time looking after children particularly during the school summer holidays. 

"grandparents can often become
isolated from the child’s life"

When parents separate or conflict arises, grandparents can often become isolated from the child’s life which can cause the children and grandparents grave distress.

So where does a grandparent stand legally and what can be done if they are being prevented from spending time with their grandchildren?

Well, grandparents are not recognised in the Children Act 1989 which is the main legislation concerning children.  Grandparents do not have parental responsibility which means that they have to first apply to Court for permission to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order (CAO). This is an Order which defines where a child lives and with whom and also how much time they spend with the non-resident parent. Generally speaking, this is usually the parents but it can include grandparents. 

"Grandparents can also apply for
Special Guardianship Orders which appoints
an individual as a special guardian of the child"

Once they have obtained permission to make an application for a CAO, they can submit an application to Court in the usual way. Grandparents can also apply for Special Guardianship Orders (SGO) which appoints an individual as a special guardian of the child. An SGO confers on the individual parental responsibility enabling them make important decisions about the child without consulting the child’s parent. 

If you are a grandparent wanting some more advice then please do not hesitate to contact one of our Family Lawyers for a free, no obligation consultation.

Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
Call our Garforth office on 0113 246 4423
Call our Ossett office on 01924 586 466

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