Grant Right To Grandparents To See Children They So Adore

Recent reports of ministers looking into a strengthening of children’s rights to see their grandparents will be welcomed by many. Presently, unless a child has lived with a grandparent (or indeed any adult) a number of years that person first needs permission of the court to apply for a Child Arrangements Order to ensure the child can spend time with them.  This is itself a costly application and if opposed by the parent(s) of the child likely difficult to win unless a ‘good argueable case’ can be demonstrated to the court. That is not to say a person has a good chance of ‘winning.’ Rather the application to spend time with the child is not vexatious, spurious or otherwise bound to fail.

The intention is for these permission applications to act as a filter so:

(i)  the Child And Family Court Advisory Support Service (CAFCASS) are not unnecessarily put to work;

(ii)  the child troubled by having to meet with CAFCASS as part of their enquiries or put to additional worry;

(iii)  to limit involvement of court resources

However, this has in practice meant that a grandparent who has maybe had substantial involvement in a childs upbringing, fulfilling an important role as caregiver, has been given no recognition of their importance to the child. In fact they have been treated the same as any other nonparent might have been.

From experience many applications have only progressed where one of the parents is deceased and the grandparents are perhaps the only link a child may have with that side of the family. This is of particular concern when there are only on one side of the family a chance for a child to be exposed to part of their heritage and family culture.

However, in most cases it is clear there is only so much of a childs time to go round if they are based with one parent then spending time with the other. It is therefore mostly expected for example, a paternal grandparents time with a child to be part of the time that child spends with their father.