Grandparents can perform an essential function in supporting parents with children. But, in a relationship breakdown, what if a parent stops a grandparent from seeing their grandchild?

As a grandparent you do not have an automatic right to see your grandchildren. One way of trying to resolve matters is to mediate. Family mediation is a process in which those involved in family breakdown, whether or not they are a couple or other family members, appoint an impartial third person to assist them to communicate better with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions concerning some, or all, of the issues relating to separation, divorce, children, finance or property by negotiation.

If mediation does not succeed and it comes to a grandparent making an application for a child arrangements order then they must first seek the leave, or permission, of the court. When considering whether leave should be given the following is taken into account:

(a) the nature of the proposed application for the section 8 order;

(b) the applicant’s connection with the child;

(c) any risk there might be of that proposed application disrupting the child’s life to such an extent that he would be harmed by it.

Providing that there is a relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild the leave application is likely to be granted. The court will then make a decision based on the child’s welfare being paramount with particular regard being had to the welfare checklist as it would for any application for a child arrangements order, see How does the court make orders over  the children.