Grandparents’ rights during separations and divorce cases have been ranking higher on the agenda in recent years, but many family law cases could still benefit from mediation to help make sure grandparents’ voices and views are heard during the proceedings.
Without taking grandparents into account when making contact arrangements, it’s all too easy for them to be left with little to no time to spend with their grandchildren – even if they have been closely involved with their childhood so far.
This can be harmful to the children and extremely painful for the grandparents, but mediation can help to put in place amicable arrangements that mean no matter what relationship the children’s parents might have after their separation, it does not prevent the grandparents from still having a role to play.
It should also not be disregarded that grandparents can act as emotional support for both children and parents during this difficult time. In general it is also important to note that there are far more benefits to keeping grandparents in the family and not shutting them out than there are disadvantages for the family as a unit.
Protecting grandparents’ rights during divorce
Until English law is updated to give automatic grandparents’ rights during divorce, it falls upon families to make sure that the arrangements they make take the older generation into account too.
The good thing about this is that you can be very flexible about how you decide to continue the relationship between the children and the grandparents – whether that means the parents need to be present, or even if you decide that the children should regularly stay overnight with their grandparents with neither parent there.
It all depends on your unique family circumstances and the role the grandparents have played in the past, and mediation is the ideal way to reflect different and unusual circumstances and family structures, without having to spend time explaining all of that in court.
Help for grandparents denied contact to grandchildren
It’s never a desirable situation when grandparents are denied contact to grandkids against their will – and it’s best to tackle the issue head-on before the divorce or separation is completed, if you want to get contact rights re-established.
Mediators are adept at communicating between two or more parties who find it difficult or emotional to speak face to face, and this can be a crucial bridge to get talks going between both parents and the children’s grandparents.
Your mediator will also have the benefit of experience in similarly challenging cases in the past – so even if you think there is no solution that will suit all parties, you might be surprised by how well mediation can remove the obstacles and leave your family with a plan for the future that everyone can agree with.