“Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.” Donald A. Norberg
Around 10,000 couples divorce every year in Scotland and adoring grandparents may be the biggest losers, as contact with much loved grandchildren may be lost. In fact recent research carried out by some family focused charities has shown that 40% of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren after divorce or separation, a quite disturbing statistic, given that a new Growing Up in Scotland survey undertaken for the Scottish Government reveals that as many as 69% of families rely on grandparents for childcare in one way or another. There are various reasons why grandparents may become involved in the care of children these days: parents may need to work full-time and the cost of independent childcare may be prohibitive and there are of course marital breakdowns. Also older people are living longer with good health and taking pleasure in more active retirements giving them time to care for their grandchildren.
Unfortunately grandparents do not as yet have automatic rights to see their grandchildren in the event of a divorce or separation. At present grandparents wishing to see their grandchildren must make an application to court for a contact order. The court will apply the same criteria as they would to an application from a parent-namely they will focus on the welfare of the child and the child’s best interests.
Losing contact is a difficult and heart breaking situation and it is vital that anyone facing this should get proper qualified advice. It is best to try and reach an informal agreement with the parents first. Only if that fails should you ask the court to intervene. Going to Court should be used as a final resort as it can be expensive, take a lot of time and be disruptive for the child. But do, however avoid too much passage of time without seeing your grandchildren. The longer you leave it before taking steps to get satisfactory arrangements put in place, the harder it may become to achieve this.
If you are an estranged grandparent who is seeking contact with your grandchild I can help. Please call me on 0141-552-3422 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.- Mitchells Roberton family lawyers in Glasgow