Posted on 28 Oct 2016
It is very common to see grandparents at the school gates picking their grandchildren up from school. Similarly grandparents are often seen in toddler groups with their young grandchildren or out about in the community, feeding the ducks or on the swings in the park. For many working parents, grandparents are a source of free childcare that allow parents to go to work without paying high childminding and nursery fees.
But what happens when one day there is a breakdown in the relationship between the parents and grandparents and contact suddenly stops? This could be for several reasons – marriage breakdown, death or an argument that develops into a feud.
First of all it is important to consider the emotional impact of this on the children, especially if the grandparent has been a quasi carer for the child as well.
The number of grandparents in this situation are on the rise and consequentially many are applying to the court.
It is often believed that grandparents have a legal right to maintain their relationship with their grandchild but unfortunately this is not the case. If the grandparents cannot resolve the arrangements with the parents informally then they may need to consider making an application to the court.
Prior to any application to the court, generally it will be necessary for the parties to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). In the event that mediation is not suitable or unsuccessful, grandparents can consider applying to the court for a Child Arrangements Order.
Grandparents will need to seek the permission of the court to make the application. Grandparents will need to demonstrate that they have a meaningful relationship with the child. The child’s welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration. The court will consider the case from the child’s perspective.
Swayne Johnson Solicitors Chester, and North Waleshave experienced and specialist solicitors in the family team who understand the emotional and legal considerations of child contact disputes and will be on hand to guide you through the process from start to finish in order to achieve the best outcome for you.
-By Sara Lloyd Evans – A solicitor based at our Llandudno and Bangor offices and a member of our Family Team. Sara has a keen interest in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and has been involved in advising and leading on Serious Case Reviews, Domestic Homicide Reviews, and Child Practise Reviews. Sara is also a fluent Welsh speaker.
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