Grandparents Rights Solicitors UK - Child Arrangement Orders for Grandparents
At Lupton Fawcett, our expert solicitors understand that not being allowed to spend time with your grandchild can be a very emotional, stressful and difficult time. We can provide premium advice on how to apply for an order, consider alternative ways to resolve matters, as well as providing legal representation throughout the process.
If you are a grandparent wishing to talk to one of our family law solicitors about applying for an order, or want to know more about your rights, get in touch with our Yorkshire-based team today by calling our Leeds, York or Sheffield offices on 0333 323 5292, by sending us an email or by filling out our the enquiry form on this page and letting us know a suitable time to call you back.
Our experienced family lawyers understand that no two situations are the same when it comes to matters involving family life, which is why we will tailor our approach to suit your needs. Our family law team has been awarded the Quality Mark and are members of the Law Society’s Children Panel.
Furthermore, as members of Resolution, we aim to resolve all matters without animosity so the best solution can be reached for all involved. We will take the time to explain the complicated legal processes so you have a full understanding of your options and what lies ahead of you. From the very start, you will deal with the same solicitor who will provide regular updates of your case’s progress, as well as offering expert guidance as and when you need it.
Do Grandparents Have a Right to See Their Grandchildren?
Grandparents do not automatically have a right to see their grandchildren. Nevertheless the family court does acknowledge that grandparents can play an important role in a child’s life therefore grandparents can apply to the court to ask for contact with their grandchildren . However you should try to reach an agreement with the child’s parents in the first instance before considering a court application.
Can Grandparents Apply for a Child Arrangements Order?
Where arrangements cannot be reached to maintain a relationship with your grandchild through discussion with the parents or through mediation, you can apply to the court for an order enabling you to spend time with your grandchild, or in some circumstances apply for an order that the child live with you
For a grandparent to apply for a Child Arrangements Order, the court must give permission before an application is made. Once permission has been given, the court will decide, without delay, whether a relationship with a grandparent is within the best interests of the child. There are some very clear principles set out in a welfare checklist which the court must apply when deciding these kinds of cases. These are:
- the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of their age and understanding);
- their physical, emotional and educational needs;
- the likely effect on them of any change in circumstances;
- their age, sex, background and any characteristics of which the court considers relevant;
- any harm which they have suffered or at risk of suffering;
- how capable each of their parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting their needs;
- the range of powers available to the court under the Children Act 1989 and the proceedings in question.
What is the Procedure for Making an Application for a Child Arrangements Order?
In the majority of cases, the court will not issue an application unless there has first been a referral to family mediation. If a child arrangements order is applied for, the court will try to keep the procedure as simple and informal as possible.
Once the application and supporting papers have been filed, the court will issue the proceedings and the papers will then be served on the other parties. Before the substantive application can proceed, the court will need to deal with a preliminary application as to whether your application has reasonable prospects of success.
It will also fix a date for a First Hearing Dispute Resolute Appointment (FHDRA) with the aim of resolving the dispute at this hearing wherever possible.
In addition, the court will send a copy of the application to CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) and a CAFCASS officer will interview the parties by telephone ahead of the first hearing as well as carry out police checks in respect of both of the parties. A report, known as the Schedule 2 Report, will then be prepared ahead of the first hearing. The purpose of this report is to inform the court of the parties’ positions and to recommend a way forward.
If an agreement has been reached following the first hearing, the court may make orders recording the agreement but will otherwise decide how the matter is to proceed.
If there is no agreement the court may ask a children and family reporter from CAFCASS to write a full report. This will mean meeting the parties (and sometimes the children) to talk about the problems and recommending the best way forward. A report normally takes about 12 to 14 weeks to be prepared. If agreement cannot be reached following the recommendations of CAFCASS the court will list a final hearing where a judge will make final decision.
Contact Us for Help
This information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances from our family law solicitors.
If you are a grandparent wishing to talk to one of our family lawyers about applying for an order, or want to know more about your rights, get in touch with our Yorkshire-based team today by calling our Leeds, York or Sheffield offices on 0333 323 5292, by sending us an email or by filling out our the enquiry form on this page and letting us know a suitable time to call you back.
Our experienced Grandparents’ Rights Solicitors act regularly for clients across the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Nottingham. We can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.
For a no obligation initial consultation please either call the office or leave your details using the contact form at the top of this page. We’ll be happy to help.