Grandparents do not directly qualify for the right to apply for a Contact Order.
Only those with Parental Responsibility may apply for a Contact Order, including parents, step-parents, or guardians.
However, provided certain criteria are met, grandparents may begin a process which could result in the right to apply for a Contact Order being granted.
Access through the Courts
If a grandparent is denied access to their grandchild, they may present a case to the courts for the right to apply for a Contact Order.
During the hearing, the following will be considered:
- The overall nature of the application
- The potential for harm to the child’s well-being
- The connection between the grandparent and the grandchild
Although face to face contact is preferable, it is not always achievable – certain situations may lead the court to rule instead in favour of ‘Indirect Contact’.
In cases where direct contact is lawfully ruled out, Indirect Contact may be granted. This entitles the grandparent to write letters to their grandchild, as well as send Christmas cards, birthday cards, and gifts.
Indirect Contact Orders may be extended beyond special occasions, such as allowing specific dates on which letters, cards, and gifts can be received by the grandchild (e.g. the first of every month)