The role of grandparents can be an integral part of family life. Many grandparents provide a sense of security and support to new parents as well as being a positive influence on their grandchildren. Traditionally, grandparents can be very generous of both their time and their money. However, it is when things go wrong that the grandparents are faced with some difficult decisions to make.

Grandparents can be asked, or can offer, to take on a much more of a responsible role in the lives of their grandchildren, or indeed be prevented from being involved in the lives of their grandchildren because of the difficulties that exist with their own children.

Applying for Access to Children

The Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 as amended by the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 now affords parents, relatives and certain other qualifying people rights to apply for access, custody and guardianship to children. Close ties with non-resident parents, relatives and certain others are encouraged and the legislation reflects this by including provisions that allow a person to apply to court to gain access rights or to uphold rights that have already been granted where this is in the child’s best interests.

In situations where grandparents are not allowed to have contact with their grandchildren, they can apply to the District Court for an access order. See Access and Custody for more details.


Enforcement Orders

The Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 as amended by the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (section 18A) provides that where a person has been granted access by court order and it is unreasonably denied, that person may apply to the court for an enforcement order.

An enforcement order may provide for one or more of the following:

  • That the applicant be granted additional access to the child.
  • That a parent/guardian be reimbursed for any necessary expenses sustained by the applicant in attempting to exercise his or her right to access.
  • That either or both parties in order to ensure future compliance, attend one of the following: a parenting programme, family counselling, or receive information on mediation.


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