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Improved rights for Grandparents coming soon?

In many cases when parents separate there are unfortunately disagreements between the parents about contact arrangements. Commonly grandparents are also affected by this and in many instances either lose touch with their grandchildren completely or only see them within the contact allowed for the father rather than separately. Grandparents do not have any automatic legal rights to see their grandchildren but can make an application to the Court if they can firstly persuade a Judge that they should be able to pursue an application to see them. In our experience it is commonly the paternal grandparents who find it more difficult to maintain reasonable contact with grandchildren following relationship breakdown.

The law could however soon be set to change. The Family Justice Review has issued a report recommending greater rights for grandparents to maintain a relationship with children following divorce or separation. Most people appreciate that, save in exceptional circumstances, it is in the best interests of children to maintain contact with both parents following relationship breakdown.

However, the Family Justice Review also reinforces the importance of children maintaining relationships with grandparents, other relatives and friends who the child values. It remains to be seen how the Court system will implement this recommendation but we see this as a positive development and as an important recognition of the role played by grandparents and wider family members in a child’s development.

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Paul Lancaster

Family Law
0113 227 9285
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Paul Lancaster Blacks Solicitors LLP