In the modern family life, any grandparent plays a very critical role as they probably spend more time with their grandchildren than was the case in older times.
In case of breakup of the family, the grandparent face a very confusing situation. In case they have been denied contact or they are worried about losing contact with their grandchildren, there are various options available to them and they also have legal rights to see their grandchildren.
The sad reality of parental separation also involves the adverse effect on the relationship of grandparents with their grandchildren. As a matter of fact, in Britain about one million grandparents are currently being refused contact with their grandchildren because of a family breakdown, bereavement or feud.
Never try to take sides
In case the parents are separating and grandparents are anxious about losing contact, their foremost priority must be to remain neutral.
It is advised to approach either parent for explaining their concerns and reasserting their wish for continuing having regular contact with their grandchildren. It is expected that most of the parents will offer reassurances about continuation of their contact with the grandchildren.
Grandparents should not forget the fact that family breakdown is enormously stressful. People deal with such a pressure in much different ways. The parents should also be provided with the space they require. It may be the case that it is a temporary time that they have to spend apart from the grandchildren.
However if the grandparents feel like much time has passed, or they haven’t been reassured about the situation, they can always speak to a solicitor. The solicitor may draft a simple letter on their behalf which will outline how they feel about being denied contact with their grandchildren.
Approaching a court for contact
Parents who are estranged and who have the parental responsibility have the right to approach a court for asking to contact their children. However, the case is not the same for grandparents as they need to apply to the court.
When grandparents make their court application for seeing their grandchildren, there are multiple factors to be considered by the court, along with the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild and whether the application can be disruptive for them.
Application for a Child Arrangements Order
In case the permission is granted for applying for an order, the court eventually decides if, when and how grandparents will see their grandchild and the courts regulate the timings for the same.
In case the court’s decision is that contact between the grandparent and the grandchild is in the best interest of the child, an order called a Child Arrangements Order can be granted to this effect.