A sad result of the breakdown of a marriage or relationship can be that extended family such as grandparents and step parents are excluded from seeing children that they have previously spent time with freely.
Step parents are recognised by law when they have married parents of a child. When the family situation changes, for a variety of reasons, they can apply to the court for the child to spend time with them if their relationship with the natural parent has changed.
The Court will always consider all the circumstances and must only make an Order where they consider it better for the child than making no Order at all. It is uncommon for the Court to not allow the step parents to see the child unless it is not in the best interests.
For Grandparents of the child they must apply first for permission (called leave) to apply for a Child Arrangements Order and the Court will consider that application.
If that application is successful then the Grandparent can apply for a Child Arrangements Order in the normal way. It is again rare for the Court to refuse grandparents on-going contact unless it is not in the best interests of the child.
It is without doubt essential that you receive legal advice from a family law specialist at this stage and all of our team have experience in these types of applications.
Please call us to discuss your circumstances and how we can help you.