The increase in family breakdown is well documented; with around 42% of marriages ending in divorce and 23% of children now living in a single-parent homes. The dissolution of a marriage is often a very traumatic experience for the married couple who are going through the split and particularly for their children of all ages. The nuclear family unit will cease to exist as they all know it, and it usually takes considerable time to adjust to the disruption of their normal routine.
However, there are members of the family that also feel the pain of divorce. The function of a grandparent in a child’s life can be a very unique and significant one. Grandparents can offer a sense of security to children. So when parents separate, grandparents can often offer invaluable support both emotionally and practically.
However, some grandparents may experience isolation from their grandchildren when the parental relationship breaks down. They are unable to see their grandchildren, or things may become hostile towards grandparents from the other side of the family.
So what rights do grandparents have if they are blocked from seeing their grandchildren? It is always advised that all parties involved try to reach an amicable arrangement, perhaps with the help of another family member. Mediation can also be a useful place for parents and grandparents to create a solution with a trained third party.
If these negotiations still fail to produce a solution for the grandparents, a specialist family solicitor can provide experienced guidance. Having prior experience dealing with difficult family situations, they might be able to broker an agreement for contact or possibly advise on whether a submission for the right to see grandchildren should be made to the court.
The court can sort out permission for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren. This is known as direct. A judge can recognise the importance of having grandparents have to play in the lives of children but the welfare of those children, often intrinsically linked with that of their parents, is their paramount concern.
This is a highly emotional area of family law for the entire family. Consulting our specialist lawyers in our Altrincham offices is a great first step, and we can talk you through your options and help you to decide what is the best way to proceed. Please contact us on 0845 548 1007 for a free 20 minute consultation.