I have noticed that so many grandparents believe that they automatically have a “right” to see their grandchild(ren) when, in reality, this is not the case.
Although there are many applications made by grandparents to see their grandchild(ren), this does not necessarily mean that those applications are actually successful. Unlike parents to a child, the grandparents must seek permission to make an application to the Court, prior to even making that application.
When determining whether to give permission to the grandparent seeking to make an application, the Court will need to consider:
1. The nature of the proposed application;
2. The grandparent’s connection with the child; and
3. Any risk that the application may disrupt the child’s life to the extent that it would cause harm.
Even if the grandparents receive the Court’s permission to make the application, then that does not mean that the grandparent’s application will succeed. The grandparents must show the Court that contact between them and the child is in the child’s best interests, but this is not necessarily as easy as it sounds, as the Court may determine that contact between the grandparent and the child may not be considered in the child’s best interests if there is a significant degree of hostility between the grandparents and the child’s parents.
It is, therefore, better if the grandparents can show that, even if there is some hostility, that the grandparents and the child have such a closer relationship that it can only be in the child’s best interests to have contact with their grandparents. For example, if the grandparent assists with the day-to-day care of the child, then this will be seen much greater than a grandparent who has contact with their grandchild, say, a few times a year.
Grandparents should not be afraid to make such applications to the Court and, as life expectancy continues to grow, I wonder whether that will mean that there will naturally, therefore, be more applications made to the Court by grandparents?
The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal advice on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor before you embark on any course of action.
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