Friday, May 24, 2013

Grandparents' rights

With over 117 000 divorces in England and Wales, the amount of grand-parents requesting contact has been rising in the UK.  At the contrary of some of our European counterparts, the UK does not give grandparents an automatic right to their grandchildren.

In a case, where the divorced parent who has child custody deliberately does not want their child to see his ex-partner’s parents and providing that the grandparents have good motives and shows respect to their ex-son or ex-daughter in-law, then the law and right for grandparents to visit their grandchild should be enforced. 

However, grandparents being foremost humans, have like all flaws and vices.

Many would feel angry with their child’s ex-partner after a divorce, this feeling of anger comes naturally as a protection for their child who has been left alone and who is torn apart. 

Others would struggle to remain objective and might not be fair-minded as they would start criticizing their child’s ex-partner, who now has full custody of the grandchildren, deliberately or not, in front of their grand-children. This would alienate the grandchildren’s and might cause emotional damage to them.

In some cases, grand-parents who are just in a bad or non-existing relationship with their own children might miss out seeing their grandchildren.  Sometimes in retirement and in order to feel that they are in control of something or someone, these grandparents feel that the only way to reinstitute or keep control of their children’s would be by requesting a contact order with their grandchildren.

In other instances, grandparents who already enjoy the right of seeing their grandchildren, but who are just unsatisfied at the frequency of visit or at the way the grandchildren are raised or who just don’t appreciate their children’s partner or also who just have huge disregard for their own children, would abuse the law and their rights by applying to the family court to have their rights enforced and written on a piece of paper. These purely vindictive grandparents wish to force their ways into their children & children partner’s lives by hurting them through a court order.

In extreme situations, some grandparents may have been very abusive parents both emotionally and physically, it is totally out of order when these grandparents try to seek contact with their grandchildren. It is hard to believe that bad parents can become good grandparents.  The danger in these cases is that the abused child does not always have a written or oral proof that his or her parents had been abusive, sometimes they find it shameful to talk about such abuse to even family members, let alone outsiders. Hence, abused children find themselves trapped in a situation where they have to have to justify their reasons behind their refusal of granting their parents’ wishes.

Good grandparents can help children to understand their roots and who they are, but only when they are good intentioned people.  

Let’s highlight that grandparents’ rights would be helpful for good grandparents who want to access their grandchildren for the right reasons, for example when their child is deceased and when they always had a good relationship with their child's partner.

Surely an adult would always want their children to spend time with their parents (grandparents) if they are good people. Otherwise if the grandparent isn’t welcomed into their grandchildren’s lives then maybe there is a good reason and this should just be respected.

Only pervasive grandparents would insist. Sometimes grandparents would make claim of mental insanity of their children, financial instability and all sort of excuses as reasons for them to keep control of their children. But most ultimately it’s all about the grandparent’s personal satisfaction and nothing to do with the best interest of the grandchild.

Lilliane Rosse

Ebook “Kiss of Thorns” by Lilliane Rosse, available on amazon kindle or kobo

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