Grandparents taking legal action for contact with their grandchildren
There has been a steep rise in the number of grandparents taking legal action to secure a role in the lives of their grandchildren.
Some try to acquire parental responsibility in cases where the parents are unable to cope or unwilling to take responsibility for their children. Other grandparents simply want to have contact with their grandchildren, which can sometimes become difficult due to acrimonious divorces or family disputes.
Grandparents wishing to acquire parental responsibility can apply for Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs).
The number of SGOs rose from 1,313 in 2011 to 1,931 in 2014, according to figures published in the Solicitors Journal. That’s a rise of 47%.
Grandparents wishing to influence the upbringing of their grandchildren can also apply for Child Arrangement Orders (CAO). There were 2,517 applications from grandparents for CAOs in 2014, compared with 2,319 in 2011.
With family relationships becoming ever more complex and the pressures on parents constantly increasing, it’s likely that more grandparents will wish to step in to ensure their grandchildren get the best possible start in life.
While the courts are reluctant to disturb the bond between parent and child, they will be prepared to allow a greater role for grandparents in certain circumstances if that would be in the best interests of the child.
Please contact Shelley Rolfe or Lorna Barry if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.