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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10226
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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How do grandparents get rights to see grandchildren

Customer Question

Hi, how do grandparents get rights to see grandchildren
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

What kind of relationship of you had with the grandchildren until now? Have they ever actually lived with you or have you taken care of them on an almost daily basis what you have a really close relationship with them?

Reading the question, surely this is a matter for your son to enforce contact rather than you. Is there more to this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My son has a 3 year old son, and is an excellent father, pays his maintenance every mth without fail, also he buys him everything he needs as when my son sees his son he doesn't come with any Change of clothes, no shoes, coat on, for the past 2and a half years he has supplied everything for him when he has been looking after him, now my grandson's mother has started to use my grandson against my son, by not letting my son see his son on the arranged days that have had for the past years,
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My son and I have an excellent relationship with my grandson, she has started to stop us seeing him because my son has told her that he doesn't want to be with her, they have been separated for 2and a half years but she has always thought he would go back with her
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have spoken to a solicitor and they just said basically she can do what she wants, unless we want to pay a couple of thousand to go to court, but we just don't have that kind of money
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I’m afraid that grandparents do not have any automatic right to see grandchildren. The only time they would have the right (through the courts) to contact with grandchildren is if there was an existing strong bond between the grandchildren and the grandparents such as if the child had lived with the grandparents for some time. Also, if there was no contact with that side of the child parents such as that parent was imprisoned or deceased or simply never saw the child.

So you see, it’s really a matter for your son and not for your grandson. When your son has your grandson, he can obviously let you see your grandson and although she may try to stop that (if she doesn’t like you very much) the reality is that she can’t.

What you have been told by the solicitor is correct but there is no reason why you cannot do it yourself or rather, your son do it himself.

Here is everything you need to know about getting a Child Arrangement Order including the forms and fees.

if your son gets stuck at any point, all he needs to do is put a question on here and he can save himself several thousand pounds.

The court will grant him the order and for some years now, contact orders (used to be called access) contain a warning that if she does not comply with the order, she does face criminal sanctions which can include community service.

If she wants to defend the action, it will only succeed if she can prove that he is a bad father and even then, he would still usually get supervised contact. There is no reason why he should put up with this.

If she wants to oppose his application, she is going to have to pay solicitors probably £200 per hour

Can I clarify anything for you?

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We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If my son has any questions can he contact you in the next couple of days ? Under the money's I have paid to you.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Of course he can.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just a quick question, with his son only being three does that mean he automatically get parental responsibility or do you have to apply for that even though it's his son?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

He gets PR if they are married or he is on the birth certfificate.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he is on the birth certificate, what rights does he get with having parental responsibility?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

From the link I sent:

All mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent - known as ‘parental responsibility’.

If you have parental responsibility, your most important roles are to:

o provide a home for the child

o protect and maintain the child

If you have parental responsibility for a child you don’t live with, you don’t necessarily have a right to contact with them - but the other parent still needs to keep you updated about their well-being and progress.

You’re also responsible for:

o disciplining the child

o choosing and providing for the child’s education

o agreeing to the child’s medical treatment

o naming the child and agreeing to any change of name

o looking after the child’s property

Parents have to ensure that their child is supported financially, whether they have parental responsibility or not.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
really father's don't matter, this is dreadful, mothers can do whatever they want,
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Not at all. They have equal rights but its just that for practical purposes the mother has day to day control.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I could understand it if he was a bad father, how much is mediation?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

It varies from place to place but not usually more than £120 per person. The average is about 65