The question of grandparent’s rights to see their grandchildren when they are being denied the ability to spend time with them is a common one for family lawyers.

Unfortunately, the answer is often simple, in most cases they do not exist automatically, and the solution for most grandparents is to work towards a reconciliation with their children or their (former) partner to gain this access to them.

There are two common reasons why grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren, either their child is involved in a separation and subsequently they themselves lose contact with their child or the grandparent may lose contact with their own child. In both cases parties need to be mindful that even if a fall out has occurred, there remains the family which is half of that child’s identity.

For any grandparent trying to gain that ability to see a grandchild, it’s always important to have an alley in the other camp, and try the gentle approach even if the situation they face causes anger or frustration, as progress happens far more efficiently if you can stay neutral.

If this access can’t be achieved through the means outlined above, one option available to grandparents is mediation.

If that fails, then the ultimate resource is to submit an application to the court, “, but it’s important to note, this is unlikely to be successful if neither parent supports it.

If one parent does then rather then file proceedings it might be an idea to see your grandchild instead when that parent has him or her.

An application will be done through a C100 form ( or a C2 if there are existing proceedings) and the grandparent ticking the box to say permission is required. Note- tt is not required if you are a parent or the child has been living with you for the last three years out of five in which case no application to spend time is likely to be relevant. This latter scenario could be where the grandparent might be a grandparent who has been in loco parentis and needs to formalise this .

The court will then decide whether to progress your application the child’s welfare being the paramount consideration of the court.

Ultimately the most effective way of gaining access will always be through amicable methods, so it’s important for grandparents to bear this in mind if their child is going through a separation or when they are considering contact with their estranged child.