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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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what rights does a paternal grandmother have to access rights

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what rights does a paternal grandmother have to access rights to see a child of 17 months old who she has not seen since the child was 3 weeks old? this was by her own choice and has bought a single thing including first birthday card or xmas card.The opportunity was always there for her to see the child but she chose not to.The childs father died while the mother was 6 months pregnant.She attended the birth at the mothers request.Two weeks later she fell out with the mother and was verbally abusive to the mother.The grandmother stopped all contact at that point.Now 16 months later,she is demanding access to the child on a weekly basis and is taking the mother to mediation.
Hello and thanks for your question.

I need a bit more information to be able to answer:

What is your relationship to the baby?
Are there sisters or brothers of the baby that the paternal grandmother does see regularly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

maternal grandparents and there are no brothers and sisters.Also the mother and father were not married.

Hello again and thanks for the information.

It sounds like your daughter has had a very difficult time, coping with a new baby while still getting over the death of the father, and the falling out with his parents.

The fact of the parents not being married makes no difference.

In any case concerning a child, the court has to consider the welfare of the child above all else, and make the decison that is best for that particular child - rather than who shouts the loudest.

The legal position is that no grandparent has an automatic right to have contact with a grandchild. If your daughter feels that it would not be appropriate for paternal grandparents to see the baby, either because it would upset the baby or because it would upset her, and that that would upset the baby, then she is entitled to refuse to agree to contact.

The grandparents will not get legal aid to apply to court for a child arrangements order for contact. They can still apply but they would have to pay a solicitor or represent themselves. The court application for grandparents requires them to seek permission from the court first, before their application for contact is considered, and in that application for permission, the court will consider what is the connection they currently have with the child, and whether there is any risk that the application for an order could cause significant disruption to that child.

So - no - the paternal grandmother has no right to demand to see the baby every week, and your daughter does have the right to refuse.

However, she might like to consider whether overall it might be nice for the baby to get to know the family of his/her father, and if so, she might like to think what level or type if contact she would be ok with - such as for example, once a month for an hour? and never without her being there at the same time? and only at her home? If she thinks about what SHE feels would be safe and good for baby, (rather than feeling or being bullied by the paternal grandmother) that might suit her and the baby better in the long run, than a blanket refusal of all contact now. The important thing is that the bahy is kept safe, happy, and well-looked after, which might mean that she as mum should always be there, and that the visits from the grandmother should not last too long or be too frequent. . Anyway, food for thought....

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

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