"Bringing Families Together"

"Bringing Families Together"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grandparents Rights debated on Woman’s Hour

We have been dealing with the problem of grandparent’s rights to their grandchildren for 10 years now and have extensive experience on the subject.

There is fierce opposition from every government on giving grandparents any rights to their grandchildren. In 2005 their was a vote in the Scottish Parliament on making the newly created Charter for Grandchildren part of the New Scottish Family Law bill 2006. The chief whip made the entire labour MSPs vote against it with Hugh Henry saying “if grandparents had any legal rights they would have more rights than some fathers”.

It was our determination campaigning throughout the years for grandparent’s rights in Scotland that brought this to a head. With such fierce opposition from all governments and since it was raised in Holyrood there has been fierce opposition from fathers and mothers groups thinking they could be overruled by grandparents in bringing up their own children. it would cause a bigger problem in families than getting rights would resolve.

It would be ideal for grandparents to have legal rights to their grandchildren but it would not be in the child’s best interests regards the rest of the family.

The Charter for Grandchildren created by the then Scottish Executive along with us and others would if made mandatory for all professionals dealing in the welfare of children give the children the right (not the grandparents) to have grandparents considered relevant in children’s lives or an explanation to the contrary which could be challenged.
This would be in a child’s best interests without compromising the rest of the family. The responsibility for children lies with the parents and they should have equal parenting which would mainly eliminate using children as weapons in contact issues for revenge etc. Grandparents being considered in this way by the authorities would send a message to families that grandparents are important in children’s lives.

Proposed Tory additional rights for grandparents.

The lawyers are really into these additional rights to grandparents and rubbing their hands with glee. Are the additional rights for grandparents or for lawyers? I have had emails from a couple of solicitor firms already offering cut price services for grandparents wanting to go to court.

At least having to ask permission from a judge to raise a court action is a safeguard. If they do not fulfil the criteria grandparents a judge would say no.. It will be open now for unscrupulous lawyers to take cases whether they fulfil the criteria or not or until their money runs out as has happened in Scotland.

In The Scottish Parliament, Hugh Henry MSP Deputy Justice Minister said that grandparents would have more rights than fathers and that has caused quite a stir with fathers and mothers resenting grandparents having any form of rights.

Any move to give grandparents rights in our experience has been met by resentment from parents, causing more conflict in the family with more grandparents being cut out of their grandchildren's lives not only by mothers but by fathers too.

Grandparents are in the business of “Bringing Families Together” and not being the cause of more conflict. These additional right will be seen as a divide and conquer tactic.

It would be better for the rights to be given to the child via The Charter for Grandchildren and made legal, this would give grandparents all the rights they need for the best interests of the child.. The Charter would force professionals like social services to consider grandparents more or give a reason why not.

Jimmy Deuchars
Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness Crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658

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