- 31 Jan 2022
- 2 min read
I am being denied contact with my grandchild – what can I do?
In a study carried out in 2019, it was estimated there were approximately 14 million grandparents in the UK and, sadly, around 2 million children who were being denied a relationship with their grandparents.
The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is very special and in the vast majority of cases, extremely rewarding. Most of us will have fond memories of our grandparents and the unique bond that existed between us. Unfortunately, when going through a painful separation or divorce, parents sometimes lose sight of the children’s need to maintain contact with their grandparents, particularly if there are concerns that the grandparents are taking sides, interfering or criticising either parent. It is important therefore to maintain neutrality and keep the lines of communication between the adults open for the benefit of the children.
The loss of contact with grandparents can be extremely painful for the children, leading them to worry that they may have done something wrong which has led to the break-up of their family. For grandparents, the loss of a relationship with their grandchildren can be devastating with some grandparents describing their feelings as a bereavement.
Do grandparents have a legal right to see their grandchildren?
Despite parliament having been asked on a number of occasions to review and amend the law which currently requires grandparents to seek the Court’s permission before they can pursue an application, grandparents still have no automatic legal right to see their grandchildren. Court proceedings can be extremely lengthy and unaffordable to most grandparents relying on their pension income and in any event, are only likely to further widen the gulf between the grandparents and reluctant parent. An application to Court therefore should be avoided if at all possible and only considered if all other means of attempting to resolve the issues have been exhausted.
How can grandparents encourage contact with their grandchildren?
Mediation can assist the adults to air their differences in a safe, neutral and child-focused environment, enabling the issues to be identified and discussions to then take place with a view to achieving a resolution for the benefit of the whole family. Family therapy or counselling may also provide some assistance in resolving the issues.
Trethowans’ Family Team offer an initial half hour free consultation at which advice can be given as to the options available. If mediation seems the way forward for your family, we have a number of qualified mediators who can assist.