Grandparents play an important part in the lives of their grandchildren, and it’s usually a positive thing if they can stay in touch with them after there has been a separation or divorce.
I used to see my grandchildren, but now I am not allowed to. What rights do I have?
Grandparents have no automatic right to be part of their grandchild’s life. Mediation can help reduce conflict between family members after separation or divorce, and it is often the best way to resume contact.
As a last resort, the court can be approached to make a child arrangement order. This will happen if the court considers it to be in the child’s best interests.
How can I help my grandchildren cope with changes in their lives now their parents have separated?
Children benefit from reassurance in times of change. They need to know:
• It is not their fault
• They are loved, and
• They have someone to talk to about their feelings
Of course, children may have conflicting loyalties.
Listening without criticism of either parent will help them continue to talk about their feelings.
What help can I get to begin the mediation process?
If you feel unable to contact the adults who care for your grandchild/ren, you may wish to approach your local National Family Mediation service. Experienced staff there can explain the process of mediation, and discuss with you the best way of inviting your relatives to participate.
They will also advise about the costs of mediation, and whether you are eligible for help in meeting these costs.
Can I insist my family takes part in mediation?
No. Mediation is voluntary for all parties. It offers a safe place for families to make decisions in the best interests of their children. Mediators are professionally trained. They will help you negotiate with your family and help you to reach a settlement for future relationships with your grandchild/ren.