Debating the issue of contact for grandparents

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Mei-Ling McNabPartner & Head of Family

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Debating the issue of contact for grandparents

A recent debate in the House of Commons has seen cross-party support for a change in the law surrounding contact between grandparents and their grandchildren.

At present, whilst the law presumes it is in the child’s best interest that they have contact with their parents, no such presumption exists in relation to contact with their grandparents. Where grandparents are unable to agree contact with the child’s parents, the only recourse is to apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order for contact arrangements to be put in place. This can be a time-consuming, expensive and stressful process for all involved. The financial and emotional cost involved will often result in grandparents needing to think twice as to whether they wish to pursue a claim in the family courts to spend time with their grandchildren.

The Ministry of Justice have confirmed that they will consider proposals in this area. The family court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child. Therefore any change in the law, such as the inclusion of a presumption of contact with grandparents, will ultimately need to focus on the child’s welfare and be in the child’s best interests.

If you'd like further support and advice around caring for grandchildren please get in touch with our Family Lawyers.