Grandparents and children proceedings
Grandparents and children proceedings

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Grandparents and children proceedings
  • Non-court dispute resolution
  • Applications by grandparents for child arrangements orders
  • When permission to apply for a CAO is required
  • Permission to apply for a CAO—procedure
  • Factors the court has regard to on an application for permission to apply for a section 8 order
  • Factors considered by the court in the substantive application
  • Acquisition of parental responsibility by grandparents
  • Grandparents—special guardianship orders
  • Grandparents and public law proceedings

Although it is generally recognised that grandparents can play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply for contact with their grandchildren.

In many cases following the breakdown of the relationship between parents, contact between grandparents and their grandchildren is negotiated outside of proceedings or develops as part of a child arrangements order (CAO) granted to the child's parent. However, where the relationship between the grandparent and the parent with whom the child is living has broken down and a grandparent is prevented from seeing their grandchild, they may consider applying for a CAO under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). In most cases the application would be for a CAO that makes provision for their grandchild to spend time with them or otherwise have contact with them.

In other, more rare cases, such as where the parents are unable to look after the child, the grandparents may wish to put themselves forward as alternative carers for their grandchild and apply for a CAO that provides for the child to live with them (formerly a residence order). These applications will be far less frequent than applications for contact and will also often involve cases where there has been some involvement from social services.

Grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply for

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