Do grandparents have rights to see their grandchildren?

Grandparents can play an intrinsic part in family units, providing a nurturing extension to the family and also in some cases, informal childcare. But what happens with the children’s relationship ends, do grandparents have any legal rights to see the grandparents?

Unfortunately, grandparents don’t have any legal or automatic rights to see their grandchildren should the child’s relationship change or end, so grandparents can find themselves in a very hard situation.
There are things you can do in order to see your grandchildren which we have listed below in the order they should be approached;

  • Speak to the parents to see if an agreement can be reached. This can often reap results for all parties. It is important to remain neutral during these conversations and not take side with either parent. Remember to keep the focus on what is best for the children.
  • If an agreement can’t be reached amicably it may be helpful to seek family mediation. Family courts will look to see this has been undertaken before any court proceedings take place.
  • Attend family court – this should always be the last option, not the starting point. Everyone with parental responsibility will be invited to attend family court where a judge will make decisions regarding grandparents access to see their grandchildren.

It is important to note that the family courts will look at what is in the best interest for the children, not the parents or grandparents. Any application to court should detail your existing relationship with the grandchildren and how they will benefit from maintaining a relationship with you. If a good relationship already exists the court is more likely to grant you permission to continue seeing the grandchildren.