Do Grandparents Have Automatic Rights to See Grandchildren?

22nd March 2024


by Daniel Sims, Solicitor

With the Easter holidays nearly upon us, many people will be looking forward to seeing family, searching for chocolate eggs, perhaps sharing a Sunday roast, or going to church. However, for those affected by a divorce or relationship breakdown, it may not be straightforward – particularly for the wider family members.

Grandparents in England and Wales do not have ‘automatic’ rights to see their grandchildren.  This means that if they cannot reach agreement with their adult child, or the child’s former partner, they may need to consider taking further action.


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Initially, family mediation should be considered, as a neutral third-party may be able to help reach a compromise. A Government voucher scheme for mediation, subsidising the cost, may be available.

In the unfortunate event that contact issues still cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order.

The Court will usually need to grant the grandparent ‘permission’ to proceed, and will consider the nature of the case, the connection with the grandchild – those with a ‘track record’ of significant involvement are likely to be given the ‘green light’ – and any risk that the case might be disruptive and harmful, such as by ‘stirring up’ too much family tension.


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The Family Department at Fraser Dawbarns LLP has experience of acting for grandparents, in respect of contact, live with orders and Special Guardianship arrangements, and can be contacted on or 01945 461 456.

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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