October 2 saw Grandparents Day in the UK to celebrate grandparents and the important role they play within the family structure. Nowhere has this been more evident than on the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II when not only her children but her grandchildren also stood vigil by her coffin in Westminster Hall as she lay in state. Through their tributes to their ‘grannie’ the grandchildren showed the great bond they had had with their grandmother as a family member rather than as ‘the Queen’.
This relationship is mirrored throughout the UK with many grandparents providing love and support to their grandchildren as well as often providing valuable childcare to their working children. Strong bonds are built between grandparents and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, one of the many challenges facing families split by divorce is the desire of the grandparents to retain contact with their grandchildren. While for many families this will continue as a matter of course, particularly if the parties have split amicably and the children have always enjoyed a good relationship with their grandparents. However, there are circumstances where this does not happen either due to acrimony from one or other party or a belief that it is not in their child’s best interest. For many grandparents this is the heart breaking reality of their child’s marital breakdown.
There is no legal right for grandparents to have contact with their grandchildren although it is possible for grandparents to apply to the court for an Order allowing such contact if that contact is prevented through the usual channels. Permission from the court is required before this application can be made as the court places the child’s best interests at the forefront of all its handling of family law cases in respect of children. By setting this restriction which includes the necessity of a mediation meeting it is intended that applications which are not in the child’s best interests can be filtered out.
While the court is very aware of the vital role with love and support that grandparents may provide they have to balance this with any additional stress that could result if the parents/grandparents disagree and children are faced with additional conflict. One of the concerns is that the grandchildren could become weapons to be used one parent against the other.
Our expert lawyers at Spectrum Family Law can offer advice and guidance on all areas of children act matters together with all aspects of divorce and finances.
Please telephone 01279 799598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dee Finnegan acted for me with issues and court hearing with ex partner. It was a long hard path, but Dee made me feel...