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What rights do grandparents have to see their grandchildren?

In most circumstances, grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to see their grandchildren. They can, however, ask the Court for permission to apply for a Child Arrangements Order which will set out who the child is to spend time with. When deciding whether to grant permission, the Court will consider the nature of the proposed Application, the grandparent’s connection with the children and whether the application would disrupt the child. A successful permission Application will not automatically mean grandparents will get an Order to see the children, but it is the first stage of the 2 stage process completed.

If permission is granted, the Court will then determine the Application for a Child Arrangements Order. The Court will consider the welfare checklist ( The children’s best interests are the Court’s paramount consideration. The Court will take into account any hostility between the parents and the grandparents and consider whether there is any risk of emotional abuse to the children by being caught in the middle of an adult conflict.

If possible, any disagreements regarding grandparents seeing their grandchildren should be resolved through mediation, family therapy or any other alternative dispute method before the Court process is utilised. Grandparents should also be aware that although they will want to see their grandchildren as much as possible, this must be balanced against setting contact at a realistic level which is workable for the children in the circumstances of the case.