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Digby Brown Family Law

Do grandparents have legal rights in a divorce?

17 January 2018 by Roger MacKenzie, Head of Family Law


During a separation, grandparents can be left unsure as to how best to help their own child without harming the relationship with their son or daughter-in-law.


When grandchildren are involved, this can be particularly difficult and this is especially true when there are disagreements over childcare arrangements.


Despite the challenging situation grandparents may find themselves in, staying reasonably neutral can help ensure they continue to play an active role in the lives of their grandchildren.


However, there are still instances where the fall-out from a divorce can put the relationship grandparents have with their grandchildren in jeopardy.


Even if previously the grandparents had a very active role in the upbringing of their grandchildren there is no guarantee that they will have any right to have contact with them after a divorce.


In most situations, Grandparents will find that even if their relationship with their son or daughter-in-law breaks down, they will still be able to see their grandchildren during the time their own child spends with them.


In the event that the relationship with their own child also breaks down, or their child does not see their children for whatever reason, it can still be possible for grandparents to pursue their own contact through the courts.


If grandparents are able to demonstrate a sufficient interest then there is the prospect of applying to the courts for a contact order to spend time with their grandchildren.


The court will then need to determine what is in the best interests of the child concerned. Most courts could be expected to be sympathetic to granting an order as required to a grandparent who previously had a close relationship with a grandson or granddaughter.



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