Dads’ FAQs: Grandparents
Questions we have been asked include:
‘Grandfather wants to know of fathers’ helpline numbers in Sweden’
‘Grandmother wants father to be means-tested for maintenance’
‘Since our son and his wife split up, we have not seen the children. What are our rights?’
When parents divorce or separate, grandparents – particularly paternal ones – may be at risk of losing contact with their grandchildren, as residence is usually granted to the mother. This can be distressing for grandparents who often do not know how to find a way to maintain the relationship, especially if the split was acrimonious. While grandparents have no automatic rights to see their grandchildren, family courts do recognise the important role they play in the child’s life. However, as with most family disputes, it is less stressful for the child and all those involved – and far less costly – if you can come to a solution by talking or using a family mediation service. It is important for the grandparent(s) to stress that, no matter what the situation between the child’s parents, they do not wish to take sides but wish only to maintain contact.
Mediation, where parents are helped to reach agreement over issues including family contact, can be really helpful and effective – it usually results in all parties feeling more satisfied. The Legal Services Commission explains a bit more on the mediation process on its website, or you can phone the helpline on 0845 345 4 345. It can also point you in the direction of your local publicly-funded family mediation service.
National Family Mediation is the umbrella organisation for services which provide mediation service to separating and divorcing couples. Find them online here or call on 0300 4000 636.
The Family Mediators’ Association is the membership body for family mediators. Check out their website or call 01355 244 594.
Support for grandparents
The Grandparents’ Association is a national charity which supports grandparents and their families. It offers practical advice on how to approach a parent about contact and provides support for those wishing to discuss the issue. Visit its website, call the helpline is 0845 434 9585 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm and Wednesdays 6.30pm-8pm), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grandparents Plus champions the role of grandparents – especially where there are difficult family circumstances. It provides a wealth of information that parents who are in doubt about the contribution the grandparents make might find reassuring, as well as lots of practical advice and support for grandparents. Visit the website, phone the helpline on 0300 123 7015 (10am-3pm Monday to Friday), or email email@example.com.
The National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC) provides places where children of separated families can spend time with one or both parents and sometimes other family members in a neutral environment. There’s now an excellent network of around 350 centres, with plenty of toys, games and facilities for children, as well as support – and other dads. To find out if there is a centre near you, phone NACCC on 0845 4500 280 (9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find links to other Dads’ FAQs articles here.
Tags: For fathers, Grandparents, Separated families