(Grand) Parental Rights & Responsibilities
Who has a right to child custody & contact?
When a child is born, the biological mother automatically inherits Parental Rights & Responsibilities (PR&Rs). The father’s rights depend on factors such as marriage or presence on the child’s birth certificate. See our page on Parental Rights and Responsibilities for more information.
Grandparents do not have any immediate rights or responsibilities for their grandchildren, even in relation to contact. However, many grandparents play significant roles in childcare and development, and may be even more heavily involved in instances where the child’s parents are not living together. It is unfortunately not uncommon for grandparents to have concerns about child custody and contact arrangements.
Speaking with an experienced family lawyer is the most effective way to determine the options available. We can guide & represent you through the process.
What contact exists with the child & their parents?
We will always seek to establish what contact and efforts have been made to develop relations with both the child and the child’s parents. Mediation may be an option, but if a grandparent’s attempts to establish contact amicably have been refused completely, or if a grandparent is concerned about a child’s welfare, they can instruct a Family Law solicitor to raise a Court action for contact with the child. If welfare becomes a stronger concern, social work departments can get involved to investigate the situation. This is often a provocative last solution which can cause further familial discord, therefore having the right advice & guidance is crucial.
Contact & Residence Orders
Although applying for Court action can be a difficult decision to make, it also has the potential to resolve difficult situations. The Court will consider the child’s best interests in making a decision. The Court will, where appropriate, consider the child’s own view, and will seek to maintain the core family unit if possible. The best interests of the child will always take precedence in any ruling. If you are a grandparent seeking greater contact/residence with your grandchild or grandchildren, please get in touch for a free consultation with one of our experienced family solicitors.