Gransnet forums

Relationships

Petition: Give legal right of contact between grandchildren and grandparents

(507 Posts)

GNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

PunkWomble Mon 01-Apr-24 12:17:56

It's not widely known that grandchildren and grandparents have no automatic legal right of contact. I run the Worcestershire Grandparents' Support Group, one of about 14 such groups throughout the UK, for non-contact grandparents. We currently have a petition on the Petition Parliament website with the aim of getting enough signatures to obtain a parliamentary debate: -

petition.parliament.uk/petitions/655143

This is a huge issue affecting around 2 million grandparents in the UK but nobody ever thinks it could happen to them. People tend not to talk about it for fear of a negative response. Please sign and share as widely as possible. Many thanks.

Oregano Mon 01-Apr-24 12:26:42

Signed, thanks for letting us know.

Ilovecheese Mon 01-Apr-24 12:31:05

I wont be signing

Theexwife Mon 01-Apr-24 13:02:19

I dont see how that would work, the grandparents would have stronger rights than the parents who are the one that stopped contact.

If contact were granted against the wishes of the parents it would cause terrible animosity in the home. Most children over the age of 12 have their own phones and could make contact if they wanted to.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 01-Apr-24 13:07:18

I agree and I won’t be signing either. We have seen a similar petition on here before I believe.

Jaxjacky Mon 01-Apr-24 13:26:03

I won’t sign.

OldFrill Mon 01-Apr-24 13:27:03

I won't sign. I don't think it's something parliament should be involved with.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 01-Apr-24 13:39:47

These things are only about what the grandparents want, with ‘and it’s in the grandchildren’s interests’ thrown in as an aside.

Babyshark Mon 01-Apr-24 13:47:51

I won’t sign this. The unintended consequences are massive and detrimental to the children.

They aren’t your children to have rights over.

paddyann54 Mon 01-Apr-24 13:50:12

No I wont sign ,I dont believe all grandparents should have rights.

Greenfinch Mon 01-Apr-24 14:00:39

I won’t sign as I feel it would only lead to more bitterness within the family set up.

TinSoldier Mon 01-Apr-24 14:09:59

Germanshepherdsmum

These things are only about what the grandparents want, with ‘and it’s in the grandchildren’s interests’ thrown in as an aside.

I agree. There have been several similar petitions. I can’t find one that has gathered much support and enough signatures to require action from the goverment. The courts are there to deal with family matters. Presumably, if the non-custodial parent has access rights they can organise that so that their own parents can see the children then.

It may seem anathema to say it on this of all forums, but I think some grandparents may be overestimating their importance in a child’s life. The petition is worded mostly from the grandparent’s perspective. To claim that no contact is a living bereavement is being overdramatic.

Beyond direct parental rights, giving legal rights to one person to have contact with another would set a very dangerous precedent. In some cases, even giving direct parental rights is not in the best interests of the child.

The child's perspective. Both my grandfathers died young, in their 30s, long before I was born. My parents separated when I was young. I had no further contact with my father or his mother. From then on, I knew only my maternal grandmother who helped my mother with childcare so that she could work.

As a child, I had no curiosity whatsoever about my other grandparents. I doubt that not having these people in my life, even if that were possible, has made much difference to who I am. I did well at school and in my career. I had a very happy marriage and consider myself a normal, well-balanced person.

What I know now about my other three grandparents is only through general genealogical research which I began for other reasons entirely. It was just part of the process of going back in time. I feel no longing or regret that I never knew them, no more than I feel for great-grandparents or generations before them. It's no more than a genetic link.

Doodledog Mon 01-Apr-24 14:22:06

I feel very sad for grandparents who don't see their children because of estrangement, divorce, relocation etc. It must be horrible to know that they are growing up without knowing their grandparents, who would love them. All the same, I won't be signing, as I believe that parents know what is best for their children (or at least it is their role to do so) and if that means that they don't see grandparents for whatever reason then it is their right to insist on that.

Many grandparents have children who have moved away, and don't see the grandchildren as often as they'd like; but life is busy enough for families, and having compulsory visits to (or from) in-laws as well as all the other things that have to be fitted in would just cause resentment.

I think people sometimes forget that life has changed, and people no longer usually live round the corner from the rest of the family, with mothers at home all day, able to drop in and help out with their children.

If a grandparent has actual fears for the safety of the children then of course they should make these known, but on the whole I don't think that people have rights over one another, sad though some situations may be.

Glorianny Mon 01-Apr-24 14:24:36

I might consider this if it was giving children the right to request contact with a grandparent. But I don't believe it is at all helpful to children involved in difficult and litigious family breakdown to insist that any adult has a legal right to force contact. The child's wishes should always be paramount.

Iam64 Mon 01-Apr-24 14:35:33

The Children Act has the welfare of the child at its centre. Contact with significant people is enshrined in the current law, children have rights, parents/carers responsibilities
Children having rights needs no change.
I will not sign this, or similar petitions. The law as it stands is rnough

AGAA4 Mon 01-Apr-24 14:39:11

The welfare of the child is the most important consideration. Children who are parted from beloved grandparents who have featured as carers in the child's life and who will be emotionally harmed by removing them from their grandparents should be heard.
Unfortunately children often suffer in silence so it may be up to the grandparents to ask for contact.
I don't believe all grandparents should have rights only in circumstance where the child will suffer from their absence.

Oldnproud Mon 01-Apr-24 14:44:34

It is probably difficult enough already, just managing legal parental access when the parents are not living together.
Adding legal access for grandparents (that of possibly four separate individuals) into the equation would be many times more difficult, a huge burden for the parent(s) with custody.

As sad as it is for grandparents not to have contact with their dgc, I don't think it should be a legal right in normal circumstances.

VioletSky Mon 01-Apr-24 14:51:39

I won't sign

This would give the grandparents equal/more rights than the parents on how the children spend their time

This takes away the children's own rights by giving power over them to yet another adult

Iam64 Mon 01-Apr-24 14:53:33

In public law, family members who had close relationships are often included in contact plans.
Most families don’t need to resort to law to ensure important relationships are maintained. If parents and grandparents can’t behave responsibly resorting to expensive , stressful legal proceedings is unlikely to improve matters or help anyine

Astitchintime Mon 01-Apr-24 14:56:03

My paternal grandparents were despicable people. They were divorced and both in second marriages to even worse individuals. Fortunately, my parents never insisted that I spend any time alone with them and I would hate to think that anyone like them could insist on having contact with GC.

VioletSky Mon 01-Apr-24 15:34:11

A child's primary right is to be free from harm

A parents ability to protect a child from unsafe adults should never be compromised

Callistemon21 Mon 01-Apr-24 15:36:15

I'm not sure about this either.
It's sad if relationships break down and must be devastating for grandparents estranged from grandchildren.
However, I don't think it is something that could enforced by law so I will not be signing a petition

I do not remember my grandparents at all, two died before I was born, my lovely maternal grandmother and Grandad died when I was a very young child. I only vaguely remember my Grandfather.
I'm sure, had they lived, the relationships might have added to my life but what I never had, I did not miss.

MissAdventure Mon 01-Apr-24 15:41:06

I'm on the fence about this, because I know if parents who have deliberately kept the children away, in case they "let the cat out the bag" about what was going on at home.

The law certainly wasn't enough in that case, and the resultant damage can never be made right.

These children actually did want to see their nan.

Callistemon21 Mon 01-Apr-24 15:42:39

Yes, it's a difficult one.

I'm not sure about how a law would work though.

TinSoldier Mon 01-Apr-24 15:45:19

VioletSky

A child's primary right is to be free from harm

A parents ability to protect a child from unsafe adults should never be compromised

Exactly and if you read this from the petition starter who also appears to be the OP …

committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/108146/pdf/

… much of it seems to be about grandparents who are alleged to have been abusive and who are refusing to accept boundaries that have been set.