Seven Grandparents a Day Apply to See Their Grandchildren
A written parliamentary answer has revealed that seven grandparents a day apply for a court order to have access to a grandchild. This is called a Child Arrangement Order, and is usually applied for following separation or divorce of the child’s parents.
Different Options Available
Going to court can be distressing for both adults and children involved, particularly if you are planning to represent yourself. The Grandparents Association
, a charity that provides support and advice to grandparents, suggests that an application for a court order should only be used if all else fails. If you believe you're wrongly being denied access to your grandchild, they suggest trying to talk to the parents. If this should fail then mediation would be an alternative option
Is the Government to Blame?
Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation believes that the Government needs to do more to keep family disputes out of court. Many people are unaware of the different options available to them before turning to a court order. She suggests that "family mediation is often the best way for grandparents to resume the contact they so badly want with family members."
The changes to legal aid have meant that grandparents who may have had financial support for court no longer have this. This has led to many people representing themselves, which can be a difficult and stressful process. Legal aid is still available for family mediation, yet as Jane highlights, this is often undersold by the Government. Simpson Millar LLP are members of The Grandparents Association, a national charity that provides support and advice to grandparents and their families.