Grandparents Rights To Grandchildren

Grandparents Rights To Grandchildren

Vanessa Fox

By Vanessa Fox – Keebles

Parliament is now considering a change in the law – which would give better rights to grandparents to see their grandchildren and it seems this will finally get the green light.

The government is examining rules which might facilitate grandparents to maintain contact with their granddaughters and grandsons when their parents separate and divorce.

The role of grandparents has taken on an unprecedented importance in modern day life. With many parents struggling to juggle work and family life, grandparents can be full time carers offering spiritual, financial and morale support and passing on their decades of worldly wisdom.

Instrumental in a crisis, grandparents also provide advice on parenting matters and are frequently invited on family holidays.

In my experience, the distress that grandparents suffer when parents split up and contact with their grandchildren at times grinds to a halt is akin to a bereavement from which some never recover.

The current system requires grandparents seeking to reconnect with their grandchildren to apply to court to obtain leave to pursue a child arrangement order, to enable them to see their grandchildren.

This can be successful in cases where grandparents live with their grandchildren and are their main carers but is often hard to achieve when parents are the primary carers and do not deem it appropriate to allow access following their changed circumstances.
Since 2014, applications made by grandparents for child arrangements orders have soared by 20 per cent. It is also believed that up to a million grandchildren are separated from their grandparents following family separation or bereavement.
A change in the law might mean that grandparents would not need a child arrangement order. This change might give more grandchildren a right to a closer relationship with extended family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles.

It would also acknowledge grandparents’ significant contribution and enhance and enrich both their own and their grandchildren’s lives.

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