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Grandparents ‘Provide Stability During Separation Process’

Role Deserves More Recognition


The role that grandparents play in supporting children whose families are affected by the separation process should be more widely recognised, a top family law expert has suggested.

Elizabeth Tait, a Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Family Law team, said that grandparents are often able to provide stability to youngsters who are affected by divorce.

She made the comment after Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy told the House of Commons that more should be done to ensure children are able to see their grandparents in the event of family breakdowns.

He suggested that this would be vital to avoid incidents whereby grandparents need to go to court for access rights.

Reacting to the suggestion, Elizabeth Tait said: “Where families are in the throes of separation, grandparents on both the maternal and paternal branch of the family tree can provide much-needed stability and continuity for children of any age and be of enormous support to youngsters at times of transition, providing they themselves do not become embroiled in the conflicts.

“A presumption of indirect or letter box contact can keep channels of communication open during difficult times and make the resumption of contact so much easier from the child's perspective.

“Similarly, the more alternatives to a conflict-saturated and expensive court dispute such as mediation or collaborative process, the more likely a workable and sustainable solution can be identified - one that truly places children’s interests at the heart of the outcome rather than a 'win'.”