Rights for grandparents to see grandchildren after divorce could become law

The right of a grandparent to see their grandchildren after a divorce could become enshrined within law, it is reported.

Monday, 7th May 2018, 3:10 pm
Updated Monday, 7th May 2018, 3:16 pm
Currently, a relative must apply to a court for access rights

MPs from across the political spectrum are backing an amendment to the Children's Act which would refer to a youngster's right to have a relationship with close members of their extended family, the Daily Telegraph said.

This would include aunts and uncles having access to their nephews and nieces.

Currently, a relative must apply to a court for access rights, then for a child arrangement order (CAO) to be put into place, which costs time and money in legal fees.

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The issue was debated in the House of Commons last week, with Conservative MP Nigel Huddleston saying he had heard stories of grandparents who have tried to send birthday cards or Christmas gifts to their grandchildren and found themselves being visited by the police and accused of harassment.

He told the House: "Divorce and family breakdown can take an emotional toll on all involved, but the family dynamic that is all too often overlooked is that between grandparents and their grandchildren.

"When access to grandchildren is blocked, some grandparents call it a kind of living bereavement."

Fellow Conservative Tim Loughton pointed out there was a "supposition that the parents should both be as involved as possible in their children's upbringing".

He asked if "it would be equally appropriate to have a presumption that grandparents should be involved as much as possible in the upbringing of those children, unless - and only unless -there is a problem with the welfare of that child?"

Justice minister Lucy Frazer QC told the Telegraph she would consider a change in the law.

"It is clear that the system could work better and I am keen to look into how we can improve it", she said.