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Grandparents Turning to Law For Access to Grandchildren

View profile for Amanda Brown
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Exasperated grandparents are turning to the legal system so they can see their grandchildren claims one of the region’s leading experts in family law.

“Grandparents are taking action to ensure contact with their grandchildren in the case of divorce and relationship break-up and can often step in to take on the guardian role,” said Simon Leach of Nottingham Family Law.

“The nature of society and the less formal structure of the family than we had in past generations means there are many concerned grandparents trying to step in and ensure stability for children,” he said.

Mr Leach, whose firm are based in Canal Street, in the city centre, said recent years had seen an increased use of Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) by grandparents who are concerned for the welfare of their grandchildren.

SGOs were introduced in 2002 and are seen in the legal profession as the most sensible way of gaining control over the upbringing of a grandchild.

Child Arrangement Orders (CAOs) are also used by grandparents wishing to gain control and have been steadily increasing in recent years.

Leading family charity National Family Mediation (NFM) has criticised the government for lack of information about alternative approaches to settling family disputes, a call backed up by Family Law Group.

“It is heart-breaking to see the way that close relationships can be destroyed due to family fallouts and all that can be done has to be done to avoid this,” Mr Leach added.

“We hope the government and everyone involved in the welfare of the family can continually work together to ensure that after relationship break-ups there can be harmonious ways forward,” he said.

“We live in an era where the family set-up can be much more complicated than it once was and we hope the law adapts with the changes for the good of society.”