Frequently Asked Questions.
Q, Do I have a legal right of contact with my grandchildren?
A, Grandparents do not have an automatic legal right of contact. However anyone who meets the criteria that contact would be in the child’s best interest, has a right to go to court to seek contact with any child.
Q, Is there an alternative to court?
A, Yes, Mediation. Scottish– Family Mediation Scotland, 0845 119 2020. Contact to find your local branch 0845 60 26 627 If it can be arranged for everyone concerned to attend a mediation session as early as possible legal processes may not be required. Mediation has prevented many a molehill becoming a mountain. Anyone who does not take part in mediation may be considered not to have the best interests of
children at heart.
Q, What is my first step?
A, Contact our group or another grandparents group to familiarise yourself about the situation. We won’t just tell you what you want to hear, we expect you to examine your own actions and be prepared to give and take. You may have to approach the situation with a different attitude. Remember it is for your grandchildren.
Q, What can I do to help the situation?
A, Record everything. If you are still getting some contact record dates and times etc. Do not get involved in any arguments or fights as this could be the excuse for a court order to be taken out against you preventing all contact.Perhaps another family member could help diffuse the situation.
Q, What qualifies Grandparents Apart UK to give information?
A, We have all been through what you are going through at this moment. If we can point someone in the right direction all the better. We are not lawyers and do not give legal advice but by sharing our experience we have helped thousands of grandparents over our ten years in this field. Hopefully we can help you too.
Q, What areas do you cover?
A, Due to the magic of email and good communications we cover the whole of the UK and have members in all four countries and some overseas too.
Q, What have you achieved?
A, We have raised the profile of grandparents dramatically over the years and with our nvolvement the Scottish Government created The Charter of Grandchildren; a document which reminds us all that the children are the priority, while explaining the positive role grandparents can play in their life.
Q, How can I get support?
Telephone helpline 0141 882 5658 or email email@example.com We also have local monthly meetings and all grandparents denied contact with their grandchildren are welcome to come along.
Q, How do I apply for contact through the courts?
A, The first step is to contact a Family Law Solicitor. Scottish Law Society, 0131 476 8168. English Law Society 0845 608 6565 You can find details in the phone book or on the Family Law website.
Q, Will I get financial help?
A, This depends on many things and your solicitor will help you with this.
Q, How long will this process take?
A, The legal process does not move quickly and can take years to reach a conclusion?
Q, Should I report a problem to Social Services?
A, Yes if you feel the child is in danger.
Q, How should I expect to be treated by Social Services?
A, Be aware that Social Services sometimes take control rather than help and support. Go along with everything they ask of you and be amiable. If you disagree or question their decisions you will be labelled un-cooperative and possibly ignored.
Q, Social Services are shutting me out, what can I do?
A, Ask for an explanation of their decisions. Contact the social worker’s supervisor, then head of Social Services. There is ultimately a head of Social Services within the council and their name and contact details will be on your local council website or community paper. If all else fails you can contact the Ombudsman –
Contact info Scotland Local Government Ombudsman Scotland, 23 Walker St, Edinburgh EH3 7HX (Tel: 0131 225 5300; Fax: 0131 225 9495)
Wales Public Services Ombudsman 1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae, Pencoed, CF35 5LJ Tel: (01656) 641 150 Fax: (01656) 641 199.
Northern Ireland Ombudsman, Freepost, Belfast BT1 6BR (Tel: 0800 34 34 24 or 028 9023 3821; Fax: 028 9023 4912 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater London 21 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9BU (Tel: 020 7915 3210; Fax: 020 7233 0396)
Birmingham, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and the north of England Beverley House, 17 Shipton Road, York YO30 5FZ (Tel: 01904 663200; Fax: 01904 663269)
All of southern England (except London), East Anglia, the south-west and most of central England The Oaks No 2, Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry CV4 8JB (Tel: 024 7669 5999; Fax: 024 7669 5902)
Q, Are you in favour of either parent?.
A, No! We believe there should be equal parenting with grandparents as a back up for the welfare of children. We have no intentions of taking over or step on any parents toes, just to be considered more if the children are alone or have been abused or taken into care rather than go to strangers.
Q, Can I help in your campaign?.
A, Yes. Send in our letter asking your local councillor to raise making the Charter for Grandparents mandatory for professionals that work in the welfare of children. As well as informing as many MPs MSPs as you can that you would like to see this change.
Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658