In my experience as a family solicitor I often see grandparents who, usually following the separation or divorce of the child’s parents, are stopped from seeing their grandchildren.
The sense of loss to the grandparent can be devastating and the effect on the grandchildren can be equally distressing.
I have previously acted for a grandmother who was desperate to see her grand-daughter. Previously she had enjoyed a very close and loving relationship with the child however her relationship with her daughter had always been volatile. When the daughter found a new partner she stopped all contact between the child and the grandmother. This caused great distress to both grandmother and grandchild.
I advised her that although grandparents do not have an automatic right to make an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order to address this issue they can still do so provided that they first make an application to the court for leave (permission) to make the application for a Child Arrangements Order. The courts will consider the nature of the application, the child’s connection with the grandparent and any potential disruption to the child’s life and subsequent harm that might be caused by an order being made.
In this particular case the court considered the extensive contact that the grandmother had previously had with the child and the close bond that they had shared. The court recognised the important contribution that the grandmother had made to the child’s upbringing and emotional wellbeing. The grandmother was granted a Child Arrangements Order so that she could continue to have regular contact with her grand-daughter.
Following on from the court proceedings my client informed me that she had rebuilt her bond with her grand-daughter and was enjoying contact again. She said that her grand-daughter was delighted to spend time with her again. She even reported that her relationship with her daughter had improved to such an extent that they were able to communicate much better.
If you would like any advice in relation to contact with your grandchildren please contact the family team at James Legal Solicitors on 01482 225566.