Grandparents seeking to regain contact with their grandchildren.

It goes without saying that most grandparents make a positive impact on their grandchildren’s lives.

They can ultimately help to shape and help to define a grandchild by taking the time to teach, mentor and pass on some of life’s most valuable lessons which only come from experience.  The time spent together is therefore often treasured on both sides.

Sometimes, however, life can get in the way of this important relationship and the precious tie can sometimes be destroyed.  Whether the separation occurs because of a divorce that’s ripped the family apart or because of a disagreement that’s simply got out of hand, there often needs to be a resolution sought.

This article centres on how contact can potentially be resumed between grandparents and their grandchildren.

Assuming that direct contact has failed at this stage you may now be looking at your other options in order to find a peaceful resolution, these options can include:

Family Mediation

Family mediation can help to resolve differences of opinion and to also potentially find a lasting resolution. Family mediation, however, is often only as effective as the mediator that is involved in the process, so do make your choice wisely.   Take your time, speak to your mediator face to face and get a sense of whether they are the right person to mediate across both sides. Mediation can be effective at bringing both sides together and working through differences of opinion that are held. It’s also worth keeping in mind that family mediation is only effective if both sides enter the process with a willingness to mediate. It’s is not uncommon at all for one side to not want to participate within the process and dig their heels in from the outset.  

What happens if mediation doesn’t work?

There are alternate dispute resolution methods available to you, for example, collaborative law can also be attempted. Family mediation and collaborative law are indeed different, but both work on the same principle that both parties want to source an agreement outside of court.  Sometimes however one or both sides of the disagreement have no intention to settle matters outside of court amicably.  This therefore renders both methods of dispute resolution as simply unviable.  Therefore the only option is to involve the family courts in certain circumstances. It is at this stage where it may come as a surprise to some grandparents that they have no automatic right for the courts to intervene and help them regain contact, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Grandparents or their appointed family lawyers, will have to apply for permission first in order for the courts to review the case.  This does therefore add an extra layer of complexity before the case is even accepted or rejected. Grandparents or their appointed advisors, must therefore apply to the courts stipulating what they are actually applying for in terms of the type of order that they would like to achieve.

The most common arrangements that are requested are noted below:

Child Arrangement Orders: “Lives with” and “Spends time”

A Child Arrangements Order sets out with whom a child shall live (sometimes referred to as a “lives with” Order) and with whom the children spend time (sometimes referred to as a “spends time” Order). Like the previous (and now unused) Residence and Contact Orders, no Order will be made setting out with whom the children shall live or spend time unless it is necessary to make such an Order.

In both instances the court will ask the grandparents to set out what it is that they seek and why they feel it is appropriate. On some occasions the Court may ask a member of the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (CAFCASS) to assist by preparing a report. The grandparents’ views supported by the report will then be considered by the Court. It should be noted that the distinction between a “lives with” and “spends time” Order can sometimes be so subtle it is almost indistinct. 

When grandparents want their grandchildren to live them it is sometimes necessary to consider an alternative type of Order that provides greater parenting powers. This is called a Special Guardianship Order. Cases of this nature can be procedurally complicated and emotionally challenging and it is vital that the proper procedure is followed.

To apply for either a Child Arrangements Order or a Special Guardianship Order professional advice should be obtained first in order to fully understand how to proceed. A family law practice will then be able to pursue the matter on behalf of the grandparent(s).

To apply for such an order professional advice should be obtained first ensuring you are clear on how to proceed.  A family law practice will then be able to pursue the matter on behalf of the grandparents.

Applications to court can be frightening however, when there is no other option but to go to court most grandparents will agree it’s certainly a cause well worth fighting for.  


This article has been brought to you by Alun Jones Family Law a member of the Family Law Panel

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What to do if you become unemployed

17 October 2011

Debt Expert Mike Thomas

Not many of us plan for unemployment and, when it does happen, we go into shock and don’t know what to do.

So if this is you just take a minute or two to read our guide to dealing with redundancy, unemployment, job search, benefit entitlement and how to tackle those debts.

If you have been made redundant

  • Statutory redundancy entitlement – you can work out what you are entitled to by visiting the government online calculator. If you have worked continuously for the same employer for two years or more then you are likely to be entitled to statutory redundancy pay. Remember the first £30,000 is tax fee.
  • Your rights if made redundant – your employer has a responsibility to treat you fairly and follow the correct process if they are considering making redundancies. They should think about any alternatives to making you redundant. Get an overview of your rights if you are facing redundancy at my rights.
  • Your rights if your employer is insolvent – If your employer becomes insolvent you have a number of options open to you. Find out what insolvency is, what to do if you are owed money by an insolvent employer and how insolvency affects your employment status. You can read more here.

Looking for work – England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland

  • Jobs and Skills search – Thousands of new jobs become available each week. Alternatively you could look for voluntary work as away to improving your chances for paid work at a later day. Find a job
  • Need help in applying for a job? – you can get help with writing your CV, application forms and general advice here
  • Wales – Free careers information and advice for young people, adults, parents, employers and professionals. Careers Wales

Are you entitled to any benefits?

Would you benefit from a benefit check up?

People in the UK are missing out on benefits and tax credits worth more than £8 billion a year. Here we can direct you to an easy to use website that can help make sure you get what is yours.

Just insert your details such as income, council tax bill and your savings, into the calculator. A click on the mouse will reveal your full entitlement on all the main benefits; council tax & housing benefit, working tax credit, child benefit, child trust fund, child tax credit and pension credit.

It is important to remember that benefit rules do change so if you think you could be entitled to benefits then get checking now – be mad not to!

This site is free and no personal information is required, so anonymity is assured’s benefit calculator

Also see Beginner’s guide to benefits from the government website

Citizens Advice – They may also be able to help- more on their website – On-line help from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Remember to click on the right tab for your country, England, Nth Ireland, Scotland & Wales

Dealing with your debts

Below are the six options available to you when debt problems arise as well as our very own easy to read debt solutions table. This chart illustrates the debt solutions available so you can easily compare them and discover the best one for you to get out of debt.

We detail which options freeze interest, the ones that give debt relief and those that stop the creditors chasing you for the debts! Not all will apply as it depends on your level of debt, your assets and how much spare money you have after paying essential bills. Six Debt Solutions Explained & Debt Solutions Comparison Table

Debt Survival Kit

We also detail the essential things you need to know and do to stay ahead of the lenders, covering a budget form, bank accounts, debt charities to contact and the guidelines debt collectors must adhere to. So get wised up! This is a very popular section of our website. Visit Debt Survival Kit

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