What rights do grandparents have to contact with their grandchildren?
There can be a great deal of confusion between grandparents and parents when it comes to the question of what rights grandparents have. Grandparents in Scotland do not have any automatic rights to contact with their grandchildren. However, they can be considered to have an interest in their grandchildren and therefore be entitled to seek contact through Court action. If a grandparent is of the view that a grandchild should live with them, then an Order for residence could also be sought.
Whilst in some cases Court action may be necessary, Court proceedings are used as a last resort and when parent(s) of children refuse to allow contact or refuse to negotiate. If Court proceedings are raised, then the test a Sheriff will apply, when making his or her decision about contact, is whether contact is in the child’s best interests. A Sheriff would also consider the views of the children, depending on their age and maturity.
Before raising a Court action seeking contact, a grandparent should consider whether Mediation would be beneficial in trying to resolve issues and re-establish contact. Each member of our Family Law Team is also trained in Collaboration and can discuss with you whether Collaboration would be of assistance in your case. Alternatively, our Family Law Director, Fiona Campbell, is also a trained Solicitor Mediator and could assist in mediating between parents and grandparents on the issue of contact.
A Scottish Government survey on “Growing Up in Scotland” found that grandparents provide 69% of childcare, suggesting that grandparents have a key role in the lives of many children. Further research has identified that when a relationship breaks down, resulting in separation or divorce, 40% of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren.
Of course, at Macleod & MacCallum we recognise that there may be many reasons, which result in grandparents struggling to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren. Our award-winning Family Law Team is experienced in acting for grandparents and parents in dealing with issues relating to contact and residence of grandchildren. For tailored advice specific to your particular circumstances please contact a member of Family Law Team on 01463 239393 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.February 3, 2017