Grandparent / Stepparent Rights

Grandparents rights and Stepparents rights can play a vital role in the upbringing of children. However, when a relationship breakdown occurs or a new blended family is ‘born’, a sad consequence can be the children lose valuable time with their grandparents or stepparents.

At Robertsons Family Law, we know how important family is and frequently advise on practical steps to secure the relationship between children and their grandparents or stepparents. We can advise you on the remedies available to you.

What Rights do Grandparents Have?

Grandparents do not have the automatic right to see their grandchildren, as only people with parental responsibility have this. However courts do recognise grandparents rights and can order that grandparents have contact with their grandchildren.

Grandparents can apply for a contact order through the court to see their grandchildren. Should there be any objections from the parents, there will probably be a full hearing so that the judge can hear evidence.

Robertsons Family Law will help persuade the court that you have a meaningful relationship with your grandchildren. The court will always consider the welfare of the children first. Emotions are likely to run high, and a third party, such as us, can help you approach the matter logically and talk to all the relevant parties.

Our Robertsons Family Law solicitors have successfully helped many grandparents obtain contact with their grandchildren and resolve disputes amicably.

What Rights do Stepparents Have?

Stepfamilies are now an established part of family life in the modern UK. However, biological parents and stepparents are often unaware of the legal implications of stepfamilies.

The cornerstone lies in parental responsibility. Although a stepparent often deals with the day-to-day parenting of children, he or she does not have automatic parental responsibility for such a child.

Parental responsibility means that the biological parent has rights and responsibilities for their child. The only way a stepparent can get this is through a child arrangement order specifying the relationship with the child.

A stepparent can also adopt a stepchild or sign a parental responsibility agreement. As a last resort, the Court can order a stepparent to take parental responsibility if such a parent applies for it. The Court will then decide what is in the child’s best interest.

Our Robertsons Family Law solicitors will be glad to help you with these or any other family law issues. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a private consultation.

FAQs on Grandparents Rights and Stepparents Rights

Must I go through the courts to access my grandchildren?

It is always better to try other methods first. At Robertsons Family Law, we will tell you that less confrontational methods will help build a better ongoing relationship with the parents of the kids.

You can try to communicate with the parents and explain why you want contact with your grandchildren. Your solicitor at Robertsons Family Law will advise you on approaching parents for the best chance at success. Alternatively, a trained family mediator can help.

I’ve heard that I can apply for a child arrangements order if all else fails. How does this work?

If you don’t have parental responsibility for a child, you can’t automatically make an application for such an order. You would have to ask the court for permission. The judge will decide to grant it based on how involved you are in your grandchildren’s lives, the nature of the application, how the parents feel, and if the application would be in the child’s best interest.

Do I have any formal obligations toward my partner’s children?

A stepparent does not have parental responsibility for a partner’s child, no matter how involved you are in the child’s life. However, should your partner not be around for long periods, it may be wise to obtain parental responsibility so that you can make essential decisions, say, in an emergency.

I am separated from my wife. It was her second marriage. Can I still see my stepchildren?

Stepparents do not have an automatic right to continue to see stepchildren. However, if you believe you have a significant relationship with the child and you wish to have ongoing contact, you can ask the court for permission to apply for a child arrangement order. The court will then decide if it is feasible.

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