Child arrangements: what rights do grandparents have?

Deciding child arrangements is a delicate subject for divorcing parents, with the well-being of children being at the heart of the decision.

However, it is not just the parents and children that are impacted by the divorce, there is also a huge impact on the wider family.

As a grandparent, you may be wondering if divorce could affect how often you will be able to see your grandchildren, especially if the child arrangements limit contact with your son/daughter.

As grandparents you do not have an automatic right to see your grandchildren, but you can take action if a parent restricts or prevents you from seeing them.

So, how can you approach this?

Bring in a mediator

Coming to an agreement between yourselves can be challenging, especially with emotions running high.

Therefore, bringing in an independent mediator can help to diffuse the tension and facilitate an open discussion.

This can help to determine the different available child arrangement options and which would work best for everyone.

Apply for a court order

If you are unable to come to an agreement through mediation, you can opt to apply for permission to apply for a Court Order to seek contact with the grandchild.

The court will decide which approach would be best for the children and will consider:

  • The grandparents’ relationship with the child
  • If contact with grandparents would be damaging to the child
  • If continuing contact with grandparents could negatively affect the rest of the family.

In some cases, the court may decide that you can only communicate with your grandchildren indirectly, such as via the phone or letters, if that is what is in their best interest.

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at

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Alison Green
Alison has more than 25 years’ experience assisting clients with Family and Relationship matters. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.