Can I stop my grandchildren moving away?

June 26th 2024

The prospect of grandchildren moving away, with one or both parents, can be a difficult thing to come to terms with. What do you do if you do not think the move is the right for your grandchild(ren)? Can you, as their grandparent, stop the move from happening? 

If the parent(s) have made the decision to move your grandchild(ren) and you do not agree with it, you may be able to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. 

Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order prevents a party from making decisions about a child’s upbringing without the approval or permission of the court. Typically, this is a parent who has Parental Responsibility. 

Prohibited steps order can deal with a wide range of decisions including:

  • Relocating a child. 
  • Moving a child to a different school (this will usually be the case if there is a proposed move)
  • Changing a child’s surname.
  • Consenting to a child undergoing a certain medical procedure or treatment.

The duration of the Prohibited Steps Order will depend on the circumstances. 

Parental Responsibility

Anyone with Parental Responsibility for the child can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. As a grandparent, you do not automatically have Parental Responsibility for your grandchild(ren). 

You would first need to apply for permission (leave) from the Court to make the application. If the Court grants permission, then you may apply for a Prohibited Steps Order in respect of your grandchild(ren). 

What will the Court do? 

The outcome of the application will be centered around your grandchild(ren)’s welfare. This can include any impact on your grandchild(ren) as a result of their contact with you changing with the proposed move. 

No two cases will be exactly the same because no two families are the same. It should be noted that a Court is unlikely to prevent a parent or parent(s) from choosing where they live unless the child’s welfare requires it.

First things first 

Before applying for a Prohibited Steps Order, you should first try discussing with the parent(s) the proposed move and how you feel your grandchild(ren) may be affected. 

If those conversations do not go well, there are other routes available including mediation. An independent third party can act as a Mediator, whether this is another family member, friend, or professional. To find out more about mediation, visit SE-Solicitors’ mediation page

This can be a difficult position to be in and it is important to get legal advice early to consider your options. If you feel you need advice, please get in touch via our contact page or contact Sigourney Lee-Smith directly (01295 204009 or