Grandparents and the law

It would be unfair to discuss families and not to mention grandparents.  So often in today’s world, grandparents play a considerable role in children’s lives: grandparents are retiring earlier, whilst working parents are forced through financial necessity to return to work after children are born or when they go to nursery/school. Needless to say, most of us are far happier to rely on Grandma and Grandpa where possible to help look after the children in these circumstances. Consequently some children may be seeing their grandparents four or five times a week. When things go wrong between the parents what rights does the grandparent have?

Sadly, when parents separate, or there are family disagreements, the children can sometimes become pawns in the game. For example, when they stop being taken to visit grandparents, or when grandparents are told that they cannot any longer see their grandchildren, or when one parent is denied contact by the other so that the children are not taken on contact visits to visit the grandparents either. Couples may not always stop to consider the children’s need to maintain and build their relationships with their grandparents.

Similarly, when children are taken into care by the Local Authority, they may well see less of their grandparents and again the loosening of these ties can be painful.

8.1 What can Grandparents do?

Grandparents’ Rights –

The bad news – there is no such thing as a specific set of “grandparents’ rights”.

Happily, the child does have the right to see not only its parents, but also those people who have played a significant role in his/her life, such as grandparents.

It is possible for matters to be resolved without going to Court. There are:

(i) conciliation Services offered by such organisation as FAME, and

(ii) grandparents can attend Mediation with the parent/s

Details of conciliation services and mediation services in your area are available from your Solicitor, local Court or local CAB.

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