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grandparent new laws

(132 Posts)
ednamode Wed 20-Jan-10 08:48:12


Really worried. I have deliberately cut myself away from family to get my life together as they were dragging us down with their disgusting attitude. and I have managed after years of pain to get our lives on track. Now I hear that this stupid government wants to give grandparents automatic rights to see their grandchildren, this is not a good thing for everyone infact for some of us it will cause real issues. What action can i take. and please no "well may be things have changed" answers i am not in the ball park for platitudes, this is serious.

many thanks

HerBeatitude Fri 22-Jan-10 13:15:46

Well that's the thing isn't it. Once you enshrine a right for some sets of GP's, the legal logic is to ask why other sets don't have the same rights.

Bucharest Fri 22-Jan-10 13:23:09

Just wanted to confirm for those of you getting in the lifeboats- head for somewhere else other than here (Italy) as grandparents already have this right.

(you're OK though I think if you're not married, because as the good Catholics we are(n't) if you're unwed, then your children, legally, have no paternal grandparents, a loophole I take sadistic pleasure in pointing out from time to time to the ILs.)

(and the one and only reason I will never ever no not never marry dp)

Flightattendant Fri 22-Jan-10 13:33:04

Herbeatitude I agree...that's sadly already the way it is for a lot of absent fathers though. All the rights, none of the responsibilities.

The way this is making a lot of us feel is similar to what a lot of single mothers (and probably a few fathers) go through daily.

The feeling of not being able to protect our children from the lunatic who helped conceive them, because as long as he hasn't ever actually tried to kill us/them, he'll get access almost automatically.

It is, actually, horrifying to feel in a position where saying 'No, I won't let you emotionally abuse my child' is not an option.

NanaNina Fri 22-Jan-10 19:56:12

I think many posters are "jumping the gun" here. The OP says this "stupid government" is giving automatic rights for grandparents to see their granchildren" This is not the case.

Under the terms of the Children Act 1989, it is possible for an application to be made for a Contact Order in respect of a specific child (Section 8 Order). Currently this application is restricted to a parent of a child. Grandparents can only make this application when they have been granted "leave" to do so by the Court. This means that the Judge must review the grounds for the application and make a decision as to whether he/she will allow the grandparent's application to be heard.

The change that is being proposed is that grandparents should be allowed to make their application to the court without the need to seek leave of the court. If this becomes law then the grandparents will be able to make application for a Contact Order. This does not mean that there will be an automatic right to contact. It means that the Judge will commission a report to be made available, which will investiage the cirsumstances of the case, interview all relevant parties and take the child's wishes and feelings into account (if he/she is old enough for this) and make a recommendation as to whether they feel that it would be in the best interests of the child for the grandparent's application to be successful. It will then be for the Judge to make the final decision.

There are a lot of comments about the parents being the only ones who have the right to say with whom their children should have contact. There is a presumption in law (that I believe is correct) that children have a right of contact with their extended family as well as their parents, so long as this is in their best interests. I know of a case where a gradmother who cared for her grandson for the first 4 years of his life (on a daily basis)is now being refused contact with him. After her son and dil split up, the little boy remained with his mum and the g/mother was still caring for the child. However 1 year after the split the father formed a new relationship and once the mother found out about this, she refused to allow the grandmother any further contact and she has not seen her grandson (who she cared for daily for the first 5 years of his life) for the past 15 months. How can this be fair?

There are cases where one or other parent will refuse contact between children and grandparent following a separation/divorce/fallout, just out of spite, or to punish the parents of the ex partner. Conversely there will be grandparents who are unfit to have contact with the children and if this is the case, then that will be found out during the investigation and the Judge can make the right decision.

Even if this proposal becomes law I don't think it will mean a great deal of difference because I don't think there will be many grandparents who will be prepared to take this matter to court, or who will able to afford the legal fees to be represented (not sure if legal aid will be available) but for many grandparents (who by definition will mostly be in their 50s and 60s) it is very intimidating to have to go to court.

Anyway can you all now calm down and see this proposal for what it is - not what it isn't.

Oh and Atlantis - I would have thought you could have put everyone right on this, given your extensive knowledge of these matters, and the hopelessness of all other professionals!

HerBeatitude Fri 22-Jan-10 21:37:21

"...there will be grandparents who are unfit to have contact with the children and if this is the case, then that will be found out during the investigation"

Ha ha ha at your touching faith in the investigation Nina. You mean like all those men who aren't fit to have contact with their children who are nevertheless given sole contact, which they use to emotionally (or otherwise) abuse their children?

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Jan-10 21:39:56

wrong wrong wrong
if the adult child has cut ties with the grandparent then that is 1. their right 2. for a reason

I would go to prison myself rather than let my young children see either set of grandparents

my older dcs would choose not to anyway

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Jan-10 21:41:33

i wonder what the courts would make of absent parents - then making an application to see their grandchildren - surely no case there?

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 21:56:16

"Oh and Atlantis - I would have thought you could have put everyone right on this, given your extensive knowledge of these matters, and the hopelessness of all other professionals! "

As I said in my post I haven't read the green paper so I have no clue as to what laws they are proposing to change dear, but you keep following me around attacking me it's your time your wasting not mine.


drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 22:04:17

Hell will freeze over before i let either of my parents near my kids, law or no law.

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Jan-10 22:09:37

drloves8 you and me both

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 22:12:47

"Hell will freeze over before i let either of my parents near my kids, law or no law. "

Trouble is it doesn't work like that when they have a court order if you don't comply that's contempt of court, you go to prison (which isn't so bad who wouldn't do time for their childrens wellbeing?) but the court awards custody to someone else or the kids go into care, so the court still gets what it wants but the kids lose everything, especially you.

If you run they find you and bring you back and the above applies.

Best to 'didn't get the first court letter' and be gone.

drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 22:29:30


NotAnOtter Fri 22-Jan-10 22:31:17

lets hope it doesn't happen

drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 22:32:20

would a previous section under the mental health act deem a grandparent unfit?(for access to kids) or a history of domestic violence ? or a history of neglecting their own children?

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 22:33:24

Sorry drloves8.

But you can't put your faith in a system that doesn't work, the system needs changing, completely reforming from all sides and thats what we need to work towards.

In the child's best interests should mean exactly that.

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 22:35:08

"would a previous section under the mental health act deem a grandparent unfit?(for access to kids) or a history of domestic violence ? or a history of neglecting their own children? "

Yes, but as I said above the system doesn't work, so there are no guarantees.

Put it this way when section 1 offenders get unsupervised visits to their kids because the contact centre deems them a risk to other children then people need to worry.

HerBeatitude Fri 22-Jan-10 22:36:05

The problem is, a child's best interests is a matter of opinion, and fashion.

It has been the fashion for a while, that contact with both parents is essential, even where contact with one of them is obviously damaging the child. That is changing gradually, but it needs to change much more. Emotional abuse in particular needs to be acknowledged as a "real" issue, especially if mad old granny gets rights.

drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 22:41:28

oh good god in govan! shock

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 22:41:31

"Emotional abuse in particular needs to be acknowledged as a "real" issue,"

Yes. As we all know in public law emotional abuse is a big thing, your child can be taken into care if they are deemed suffering emotional abuse and yet with private law it doesn't apply so well and you have to argue it till your horse and the judge still wavers.

Of course the fact that physical abuse is much easier to prove has nothing to do with it of course hmm

drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 22:46:25

actually my parents do not know my married name or all of my kids names (just my 3 from first marriage), that could work in my favour ?

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 22:48:17

"for a 'seek and find' order under section 33 of the Family Law Act 1986. ..."

No, if the court can't 'find' you they can order a section 33 under the family law act where they can search records for you, dss, doctors etc.

atlantis Fri 22-Jan-10 22:49:12

opps that didn't work, I was trying a link.

drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 22:57:09

well thats us with good reason to keep our kids away from the nutjobs their grandparents screwed then.
why cant you legaly divorce your parents ?
would make things so much simpler.
If i could get rid of mine legaly i would ... (dont wish them harm , just dont want to be tied to them at all).
Children can be adopted, why cant adults legaly opt out of having crap parents? thus removing any possible grandparental rights too.
can i get a green paper on that?

NotAnOtter Fri 22-Jan-10 23:27:47

drloves8 i think we are sisters wink and sad

luckily a criminal conviction means 'grandad' has no chance here

NanaNina Fri 22-Jan-10 23:34:40

Ah well I tried - but I can see that there are some of you who are still intent on thinking that grandparents are going to be given automatic rights to contact with their grandchildren. I am left wondering why some of you prefer to believe this and get all worked up about it, when that is not the proposal. Maybe I'll never know.

Atlantis is doing her level best to totally discredit the entire system based on her own experience. She says she's a McK friend and has a lot of experience in this way too, and has never "lost a case" with which she's been involved. I doubt what she says, as it is not within the gift of a McK friend to "win" or "lose" a case. A McK friend is there to offer support to a parent in court. It is for the Judge to decide on whether a Contact Order should be made and on the terms of any such Order.

I would urge that you treat Atlantis's comments with caution. Of course ths system isn't perfect and I have tried to explain some of the problems with CAFCASS but it simply isn' true that the entire system "doesn't work" in the way that she is trying to suggest. Neither is it true that parents necessarily get custodial sentences if they do not comply with Court Orders. If a parent doesn't comply with a court order, the other parent needs to take the matter back before the court and the parent with-holding contact will be told that they must comply, and given the opportunity to do so. It simply isn't the case that parents not complying with a court order are cast into jail and the children taken into care,, or "custody" awarded to someone else (incidentally there is no such thing as custody any more - children's permanent living arrangements are now decided on the basis of Residence Orders or Special Guardianship Orders.

I wonder why some of you who are dead set against g/parents having contact (and I accept that there may be good reason for your views) feel that just because there is a proposal that there may be a very slight change in the law, that this means they are going to be off to court in their droves, applying for contact. Surely if they felt that strongly they would have already done it.

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