For the longest time, grandparents in the UK had limited rights to visitation and contact with their grandchildren. Family Court takes blood relations into account and understands this bond’s value, emphasizing its social and emotional development. Grandparents are granted access unless their relationship is potentially harmful. The child is, however, ultimately, the focus in the court’s decision.
Grandparents Role in Grandchildren’s Lives
Research has shown that children raised with their grandparents involved in their lives and within close proximity have numerous advantages. First, they have access to family history and cultural heritage through listening to stories and experiences. Secondly, there is general household stress reduction as this relationship is mutually benefitting. For the grandparents, it gives them a sense of purpose and a sense of security for their grandchildren. This sense of security is observed well in teenagers who report less emotional instability and fewer behavioral challenges than their counterparts. It also makes for affordable and stable childcare.
Family dynamics in-between grandparents and children are often overlooked, especially when there are family feuds, divorce, or relocation to different cities. Grandparent rights are better determined for those who maintain regular contact, offering unwavering support and emotional intimacy, impacting their grandkids with the right beliefs and values.
Going to court is the last option, and you want to try dispute resolution first. Start with an informal discussion with the parents, and if positive results do not yield, then seek the help of a mediator.
You want to remain as civil as possible as family feuds can be fraught and emotional, but family ties will always remain despite any differences.
In the event of a divorce, maintain a good relationship with your child’s ex-partner, do not get involved in their disputes, or take sides for the grandkid’s benefit. Research your legal rights of visitation, taking into consideration the sentiments of both parents. If the child care and development are in jeopardy, apply to the Court for Parenting Orders to enable you to maintain communication and spend time with them.
Laws Protecting Children
There are two types of laws that govern children and grandparent rights.
• Family Law ~ Focus is on the grandchildren’s interests more than the parents or grandchildren.
• Child Care and Protection Law ~ Considered in the case of child neglect and abuse.
You can engage the free services of a state representative through the Legal Aid Office.
Going to court is the last resort and can only be done if you have failed to reach a mutually beneficial consensus through an informal discussion or mediation. Court cases are not only a stressful and time-consuming engagement, but it is also an expensive ordeal. Here, you will have to show the court the significance of your involvement in your grandchildren’s lives, the frequency of contact you had before the separation, and your relationship.
There are different types of Legal Orders.
• Special Guardianship Order ~ You get custody until the grandchild reaches 18 years of age.
• Kinship Foster Care ~ You become the official caregiver.
• Child Arrangement Order ~ You are given charge and live with them.
• Adoption ~ The link between the child and parents ceases, and you become the legal guardian.
In most cases, when parents separate, the mother is given custody of the children, posing a slight challenge for the paternal grandparents as their relationship may be determined by whether their son meets his obligations and parental responsibilities. That said, where the paternal grandparents maintain contact and support, the son is also more inclined to keep in touch with his kids after divorce.
In May 2018, both Labor and Conservative MP’s believed that grandchildren’s estrangement from their grandparents was heart-wrenching. An amendment to the Children Act was called for, giving children the right to have a relationship with their extended family. In the past, grandparents had to request access, but after this amendment, they now have authority automatically, and in case of divorce, the parenting agreement includes them. In extreme cases, imprisonment is a possibility for parents who go against the court’s contact orders.