It’s a very said day when we have to report that the number of grandparents having to apply to Court for an Order to see their grandchildren. In figures released last year by the MOJ, there was a 25% rise in the amount of grandparents applying to Court to see their grandchildren when compared to the same period 2017.
A grandparent / child relationship can be one of the most rewarding relationships a child can have as they grow up. Very often as parents we take grandparents for granted. To a child, to restrict a relationship can be particularly emotionally damaging to them.
Unfortunately, as things currently stand, there is no automatic right for a child to have a relationship with their grandparents. This means that grandparents looking to apply to see their grandchildren must ask the Court for permission.
To obtain permission from the Court grandparents must show three things;
1 – There is an existing relationship between the child and the grandparent.
2 – That a relationship would not negatively impact on the child.
3 – That the Application is for genuine reasons.
Most grandparents are able to overcome this hurdle and as such are then able to apply to the court to spend time with their grandchild.
To apply for permission from the Court would seem to be quite unnecessary and for a number of years there have been legal arguments for having grandparent’s rights protected by law. Having their rights in law guaranteed would eliminate the need to apply for permission. A number of MPs have backed this argument. Any proposed amendment would not just include grandparent but also other relatives such as aunts and uncles.
Unfortunately, the amendments to the law are still some way off. It is hoped that in time this position changes. However as things stand grandparents can still get to spend time with their grandchildren as the Courts do recognise the important role that grandparents can play in a child’s life.