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Legal Advice for Grandparents

 

There are many reasons why grandparents may need to take legal advice in relation to their grandchildren and the good news is that the family law experts at Lanyon Bowdler can help.

Our specialist team are able to advise you on your rights relating to matters such as access, visitation and guardianship and will work diligently to secure the very best outcome for you, your family and most importantly your grandchildren.

I have been stopped from seeing my grandchild.  What can I do?

The relationship between you and your grandchild is incredibly special so if you have been prevented from seeing them for any reason, the pain and upset caused can be utterly devastating.

Although as a grandparent you have no automatic legal right to contact with your grandchild, the courts recognise the importance of this key relationship and, unless there is a background of violence or abuse, they will be sympathetic to your situation. If the issue cannot be resolved through negotiation with the child’s parents, access can be granted by the court through a Child Arrangement Order.

What is a Child Arrangement Order?

A Child Arrangement Order is issued by the court detailing the living and contact arrangements for the child involved. They are usually required after a family breakdown, when the parents or those with parental responsibility, cannot agree where their child should live and how often they should see the non-resident parent or other family members.

Most cases are resolved through discussion and mediation without the need for court proceedings but, in the event a solution cannot be agreed upon, the court will make the final decision, which is legally binding until the child is 16 .

How do I apply for a Child Arrangement Order?

As a grandparent, before you can apply for a court order to see your grandchild, you will first need permission from the court, which is normally given. Once permission is granted  you  will then proceed with your application for an  order with the aim of securing visitation rights.

The court will weigh up all the evidence presented and will make a Child Arrangement Order, if they consider that is in the best interest of the child  involved.

Seeking residency for your grandchild

If you wish to secure residency for your grandchild so that they can live with you, the process is largely the same as if you were seeking contact, and you will need to obtain a Child Arrangement Order.

Although grandparents are not automatically entitled to apply for a Child Arrangement Order and will need permission from the court to do so, if you are applying for residency, the following exceptions apply:

  • If the child has lived with you for at least three years. This doesn’t have to have been continuous but must not have begun more than five years before or ended more than three months prior to submitting the application.
  • If the child has lived with you continuously for a year prior to the application.
  • If you have the permission of those named in an existing Child Arrangement Order in relation to the child.
  • If the child is in state care and you have permission from the local authority.

How do I obtain Special Guardianship for my grandchild?

If the parents of your grandchild are unable to look after them property or if care proceedings have been issued, you can potentially be appointed as a Special Guardian for your grandchild through a Special Guardianship Order issued by the court.  

As a Special Guardian you will be granted parental responsibility for your grandchild until they are 16.

In order to be granted Special Guardianship you will need to take the following steps:

  • Contact your local authority and inform the Children’s Services department of your intent to apply for a Special Guardianship Order.
  • Undertake an assessment to demonstrate your suitability to be the legal guardian of your grandchild.
  • Attend a mediation, information and assessment meeting (MIAM) to explore all options for a resolution before you can apply for a court order.
  • Make your application.

We can support you throughout all these stages and are able to help you prepare the documentation and information required for your application.  

What we do

Aside from our expertise as legal specialists, we understand the importance of a family. The special bond that exists between a grandparent and their grandchild is unique and something to treasure, which is why we want to utilise our expertise and experience in family law to help you maintain this relationship for the many years to come.

We place great emphasis on dialogue and discussion with the child’s parents to agree a way forward, which will ultimately help avoid court action, keep costs down and minimise the stress and anxiety for everyone involved. Working in the best interests of the children is at the centre of all that we do and we have an excellent track record of success when it comes to negotiation.

Where this route does not bring about a resolution however, then we are able to represent you effectively at any court hearings. We will be meticulous and thorough in our preparation of your case to persuade the court of the invaluable role you play in your grandchild’s life and that you should have an ongoing and meaningful relationship with them to significantly benefit you both.

How much will it cost?

We are completely transparent and upfront about our prices and offer a number of different payment options to suit all budgets so don’t hesitate contact us for more detailed information.

Contact us

As one of the country’s leading full-service law firms, we provide legal services to clients right across the country so for friendly and professional advice contact us today by phone or by completing the online enquiry form at the top of this page.

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise no matter what the situation. Our family law solicitors have vast experience in all areas of family law and we are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care. We always act with the utmost discretion and you will be treated with sensitivity and understanding, as we work closely with you to find the best outcome for everyone involved.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford, regularly acting on behalf of clients across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and throughout the Midlands, including Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

As a leading full-service law firm however, we can represent you wherever you live in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, so don’t hesitate to take advice from the family law experts. 

Testimonials

Excellent staff in all respects. The process was clear, well managed and avoided unnecessary stresses or delays. The meetings were as focused and efficient as possible and costs were kept to a minimum throughout.

- Ms D Greaves, Hereford

Everything from start to finish made me feel they always had my best interests.

- Mrs D Manser

The professionalism of the service received and the expert knowledge of the solicitor who handled my case.

- Mr K Whitelaw, Wolverhampton

Everything was first class

- Miss Evans, Oswestry

I always felt you were working in my best interests, but you didn't sugar coat or patronise me. My case was complex and I appreciated the professionalism shown and how the legal system "worked"

- Mrs J Bradford, Stafford

He was great, he listened and suggested the best course of action - thank you.

- Mr T Graves, Shrewsbury

Quotes

I always felt you were working in my best interests, but you didn't sugar coat or patronise me. My case was complex and I appreciated the professionalism shown and how the legal system "worked"

- Mrs J Bradford, Stafford

Everything was first class

- Miss Evans, Oswestry

He was great, he listened and suggested the best course of action - thank you.

- Mr T Graves, Shrewsbury

Excellent staff in all respects. The process was clear, well managed and avoided unnecessary stresses or delays. The meetings were as focused and efficient as possible and costs were kept to a minimum throughout.

- Ms D Greaves, Hereford

Everything from start to finish made me feel they always had my best interests.

- Mrs D Manser

The professionalism of the service received and the expert knowledge of the solicitor who handled my case.

- Mr K Whitelaw, Wolverhampton