Are you struggling to maintain your relationship with your grandchild or grandchildren?
- AuthorClaire Smith
Here at Chattertons we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may have severely impacted upon all your relationships with family and friends, but perhaps more so adversely affected your relationships with your grandchildren, whilst you have been trying to keep everyone as safe as possible.
We have recently been receiving an abundance of queries from concerned grandparents, who are struggling to re-build or even spend any time whatsoever with their grandchildren. Here's what you need to know ….
Wherever possible, it is always preferable if you can reach an amicable agreement with your grandchild's parents, or those who have parental responsibility for them. Such an agreement can be achieved through direct negotiation, or through mediation. Any agreement achieved through negotiation or mediation will not however be legally binding, unless that agreement is put before and approved by the Court. If you have however explored these options and the parent or persons with parental responsibility for your grandchild are not willing to engage with you or no agreement can be reached, you should be considering making an application to the Court.
Although grandparents have no automatic right to make an application to the Court to see their grandchildren, they can ask the Court's permission to apply for an order to spend time with their grandchild and in the vast majority of cases such permission is granted, as the family courts do recognise that grandparents have an invaluable role to play in children's lives. The sooner you make that application to the Court the better, as this will only serve to strengthen your case.
When considering such applications, the Court will take into account the welfare checklist as follows:-
- The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (taking into account their age and understanding);
- The child's physical, emotional and educational needs;
- The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances;
- The child's age, sex, background and any characteristics of the child which the Court considers relevant;
- Any harm that the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
- How capable each of the child's parents, and any other person in relation to whom the Court considers the question relevant, of meeting the child's needs;
- The range of powers available to the Court under the Children Act 1989.
If you are able to establish to the Court that it is the child's best interests to spend time with you, the Court can order that your grandchild is made available to spend time with you and you can then start to re-build your relationship at a pace that they are comfortable with.
It is very unusual for the Court not to order some form of contact, unless it can be proven that there is a history or violence or abuse and it is deemed unsafe for your grandchild or grandchildren to spend time with you.
If you or anyone you know is struggling to maintain their relationship with their grandchild, we offer fixed fee appointments, when we can discuss with you the best way forward taking into account all the circumstances of your case. We are rated excellent on Trustpilot and our feedback from clients is exceptional.
Our office numbers are:
Boston Wide Bargate - 01205 351114
Boston Main Ridge West - 01205 364986
Horncastle - 01507 522456
Grantham - 01476 591550
Lincoln - 01522 541181
Newark - 01636 673731
Sleaford - 01529 411500
Spalding - 01775 725664
Stamford - 01780 764145