Grandparents: contact with children after parental divorce or separation
A child needs a lot of support to stop them feeling upset or worried when their family has split up. Contact with grandparents can help. Find out how you can make an arrangement to see grandchildren if their family has broken up.
Things to think about when trying to see your grandchild
The best way for you to keep in touch with a grandchild whose parents have split up is to make arrangements informally.
It’s a good idea to try to chat face to face with the parents or get in touch with them by phone or letter first.
It may be helpful if you explain to the parents that, as a grandparent, you just want to keep in touch with your grandchild. If it’s possible, you could tell them that you don’t want to take sides – you only want to support the child.
You can suggest ways that you could see your grandchild now that their parents are living apart.
Bear in mind that the parents may have agreed or may be negotiating contact arrangements with their children themselves. You can ask if time with your grandchildren can be added to the agreement.
If you can’t agree with the parents
If the parents are in conflict or not allowing you contact, you could suggest that you go with them for mediation.
A mediator is an independent person who can help you get an agreement. As a grandparent, you’ll need to get both parents to agree to try mediation.
Applying to court to see your grandchildren
If trying informal arrangements or using mediation don’t work, you can consider applying to a court.
Going to court should be your last resort. It’s time consuming and expensive. It can also be disruptive to the child. You should try every other option first.
While a court will recognise how important a grandparent is to a child, you don’t have an automatic right to apply for contact with grandchildren. You will need to ask the court for permission first.
You do this by completing a form C2 and returning it to a court that deals with family matters. You can do this yourself, but you may want to get some legal advice.
What the courts will consider
When considering whether to give you permission to see your grandchild the court will look at:
- the details of your proposals
- your connection with the child
- any risk of disrupting the child’s life
- the wishes and feelings of the child’s parents