Grandparents Day really began as an American celebration, but is also gathering momentum in the UK. This Sunday, 5th October is Grandparents Day in the United Kingdom. Many grandparents will receive cards and maybe small gifts from their grandchildren. Many will not. This is because it will also be a day of remembrance for those grandparents who do not see or hear from their grandchildren. What can grandparents do in this situation, when they don’t see or even know about their grandchildren’s lives?
Grandparents have no right to make an application to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order to see their grandchildren, but they can ask the Court’s permission to do so. However, in our experience, this should be the last resort when trying to gain contact. All other avenues need to be explored, including mediation and maybe correspondence.
It can be very difficult for grandparents, who have emotional involvement in a situation, to write very clear, but factual letters to parents of the grandchildren, whether they are related or not. At The Family Law Company we often write letters for grandparents, which they send themselves. These letters are factual, perhaps apologetic, sometimes looking to find a new way forward, but always maintaining the position that the grandparent wishes to have a relationship with their grandchild.
Of course, it is really important that grandparents have a relationship with their grandchildren, even if this is by letter, e-mail, Skype or some other form of social media. From a grandparents point of view, it is really important that they believe that they have explored all avenues to try and see their grandchildren. It is impossible to know when a grandchild may simply turn up and ask to see you, and you may wish to be able to show them all the efforts that you made, all the birthday cards that you wrote, but couldn’t send, or the Christmas cards and presents that were stored away.
Grandparents play a vital role in a child’s life and it is not only for this generation, those children will probably one day be grandparents themselves. No one would wish those children to experience the pain and the grief that their grandparent’s have gone through. So, on this Grandparents Day let us remember and celebrate the roles that grandparents play. Also to those grandparents who don’t have contact with their grandchildren, don’t give up, take advice, be prepared to say sorry, even if you don’t know what you are saying sorry for.
Whatever path you chose, at The Family Law Company we are experts in helping and guiding grandparents towards achieving their goals.