Who is listening to your needs?
Right now there are an estimated one million GRANDPARENTS being denied access to thier grandchildren as a direct result of a family dispute or bereavement.
When your daughter or son is separating from their partner, it is a difficult and emotional time.
You have no wish to get caught up in the relationship difficulties of your children. Unfortunately all too often grandparents can find themselves excluded from their grandchildren’s lives. Most just want to continue having a loving relationship with their grandchildren, but this can’t be achieved without the cooperation of the parents.
The bad news is that for grandparents there is no real remedy. Unlike parents (and those with ‘parental responsibility’), you don’t have any automatic legal rights to see your grandchildren. Instead you need to get permission from the court to apply for contact.
The best solution, always, is to try and work it out with the parent, explain your worries and reaffirm your wish for a relationship with your grandchildren. Hopefully that will be all that is needed.
Keep your conversations with the parent focused on the children. This can be really difficult to do but it is important not take sides between the parents, however much you may be tempted to do so, and however much you may think that the other parent is in the wrong. Put yourself in the ex-partner’s shoes. If someone was critical of you, would you be keen for them to spend time with or contact your child?
So if you find yourself not being able to see your grandchildren, what do you do?
Mediation gives you the opportunity to sit down with a specialist family mediator and consider – constructively – how you’ll communicate in the future. You can explore the reasons for the breakdown of your relationship, understand the expectations of the other, and look at possibilities for restarting contact with your grandkids.
When ALL else fails: Child Arrangements Orders
If you have exhausted all avenues and wish to make an application to the court, then first the court would have to give permission to make an application. Court proceedings should be a last resort and mediation is a far better process to try and resolve the issue, where you can make your own decisions in a safe and more relaxed environment. Going to court is lengthy, expensive, stressful and can do irreparable damage to your relationship with the parents.