Grandparents’ Heartbreak As Contact Case Fails

A couple have told of their despair at losing contact with their grandchildren after their son’s separation from his partner.

Chris and Dawn Clark spent £30,000 on legal fees in an attempt to stop the mother taking their two-year-old and six-year-old granddaughters to live in Australia.

However, the absence of legal rights for grandparents meant they were unable to be heard in court and their case was unsuccessful. The children were flown to Sydney only ten days after the hearing.

Mr and Mrs Clark’s son, Delwyn, met his partner while on holiday in Australia, where they initially lived. The couple lived with them for a period and were there when the younger child was born.

The grandparents have since had occasional Skype contact with the children, but wanted it to be more regular. The children’s mother is obliged by a court order to Skype Delwyn once a week and visit the UK once a year with the children.

Amanda Adeola, a children specialist at Macks Solicitors, said: “This is a very sad case. However, it’s not unusual. “I’ve acted for a number of grandparents over the years and it is important for parents to understand that they play an important role in their children’s lives. “Many grandparents give up their time and money they have saved up for retirement to care for their grandchildren as the need arises and I believe that their role should not be minimised in our society. “Agreeing arrangements for the children to see their grandparents when relationships break down will assist with providing some consistency and stability for children, especially if the children have always spent time with their grandparents and this has formed part of their routine. “I appreciate that there are cases where grandparents cannot spend time with their children for one reason or another and, of course, the children’s safety and welfare must always come first in those circumstances.”

You may wish to seek legal advice if you cannot agree arrangements for your grandchildren.

Applications to court are recommended only as a last resort and it is advisable to consider alternatives to court such as mediation before beginning proceedings.

Mediation sessions offer an opportunity for disputes to be resolved amicably, allowing you to take control of the decisions made and agree what is best for your family.

Macks’ family solicitors in Darlington can help you understand the different options available to you.

In all cases we try to keep disputes away from court. Macks family law solicitors in Darlington can be contacted on 01325 389 800.


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