Throughout a divorce, it is common for grandparents to feel that they are overlooked, despite the situation affecting contact with their grandchildren.
The legal stance is that grandparents do not have an automatic right to either see their grandchildren or apply to the court for an order allowing them to see their grandchildren. However, grandparents should not be dismayed because the law is more focused on the rights of the child than the rights of the adults.
Generally, the more involved the grandparents have been in the child’s life, the more likely it is that the court will consider that there is a benefit to the child in continuing that relationship. The best advice for a grandparent, and indeed for any parent or adult involved in a child’s life, is to remain focused on the needs of the child. The court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child and contact is more likely to be allowed if it is in the child’s best interests.
If the grandparent can demonstrate that they have a strong relationship with their grandchild, and that they have not involved themselves in any dispute between the parents, there is a much better chance that an order will be made granting them contact.
The first step would be to make arrangements directly with the parents. The fact that the parents have separated does not mean that either of them lose their right to make decisions concerning their child. Both parents should be approached to seek their views on contact.
For further advice and assistance on the rights of grandparents, please contact the Family Law team.