With the soaring rates of separation and divorce, it is a common occurrence that many grandparents end up losing touch with their grandchildren. There are also circumstances where a family feud can cause a breakdown in relationships and grandparents are no longer allowed to participate in a child’s life.
In these circumstances, many grandparents may assume that they have no rights of access to the child. Legally, grandparents do not have automatic rights, however, most family courts look favourably on the role of a grandparent in a child’s life and the following steps can be taken to allow grandparents reasonable access.
A Family Law solicitor will encourage grandparents to try mediation methods to resolve the issue.
All parties need to accept that the child’s physical and emotional well-being is paramount. In the case of separation, parents are encouraged to attend a Separated Parenting Programme to help them understand the effect of their separation on their child and to choose non-adversarial methods to resolve problems with the child’s grandparents.
In the case of a family feud, a solicitor can draft a neutral, non-confrontational letter to help open up communication and resolve access issues without the need to resort to the courts. To read more about Mark Reynolds mediation services click here.
It is not impossible for grandparents to ask for permission to apply for a contact order, however it is inadvisable and should be used only in extreme cases as a last resort.
If permission is granted, a welfare report will be submitted to help the family court come to a decision.
The court must also decide whether the final decision will have a negative impact on the child’s home circumstances and whether it will affect their relationships within the overall family unit.