Justice Minister Simon Hughes has revealed in a parliamentary written answer how every day in 2013/14 seven sets of grandparents sought court orders to see their grandchildren.
Mr Hughes, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, revealed the numbers of grandparents seeking access to their grandchildren after the separation or divorce of the child’s parents in this written parliamentary answer.
His answer confirmed the figures for such attempts by grandparents in 2013/24 showed how there were 2,517 applications for child contact orders or child arrangements orders. The figures are similar to those for 2012/13 and 2011/12, which were 2,649 and 2,319 respectively.
The organisation National Family Mediation says this figure is too high and that the government should “shoulder blame” for a lack of information and education around alternative approaches to settling family disputes.
The CEO of National Family Mediation Jane Robey said people should be made more aware of what a grandparents rights are.
She said: “The fact is grandparents don’t have an automatic right to be part of their grandchildren’s lives.
“Approaching a court should be a last resort for anxious grandparents and our worry is the majority of the 2,517 grandparents who applied for court orders in 2014 didn’t know about the alternative options open to them.
“The family court system very expensive for the taxpayer, and the Government should shoulder a share of the blame for the lack of information and education about alternative ways of resolving family disputes, including family mediation.”
If you need advice surrounding your rights as a grandparent to see your grandchildren then why not speak to Stephen Sowden, one of our experienced family law experts by calling on 01392 421777 or 01752 674999, or emailing [email protected].