- Psychology & the public
- What we do
- Member networks
- Careers, education & training
Grandparents and contact following divorce
Agreements allowing grandparents access to their grandchildren after parents split up are being proposed in a review of the law in England and Wales. The family justice review will suggest 'parenting agreements' that 'reinforce the importance of a relationship with grandparents', although the review's recommendations stop short of giving them any legal right of access. Report author David Norgrove said the law was 'too blunt an instrument' and giving grandparents such rights could damage the children involved.
Psychologist Dr Linda Drew, from the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas, has researched the experiences of UK grandparents following divorce. She told The Psychologist: 'The opportunity to regain contact through the courts has gone well for many families in America and could be beneficial for many UK families. Intergenerational family relationships are an interactive and important part of societies' future and need to be continually fostered. In the most difficult of situations, family mediation through a third party - a trusted family member or friend, religious leader, or a family mediation service - would be the recommended first choice for a resolution to benefit all three generations.'
Dr Drew points out that grandparents value their contact with grandchildren, grieve at the loss, and worry about their grandchildren. 'In my research, one of the grandparents who had lost contact with their grandchildren said: "our grandchildren loved being with us and we took great pleasure in teaching them and having fun also, and for us and the children to be deprived of this mutual pleasure is bewildering, for us. We worry, also about the lesson the children are learning from this sudden, forced separation".'
A public consultation on these proposals is now under way, while the review will make its final recommendations in the autumn - see http://tinyurl.com/6cqdl84
- Most Read
- Most Comments
- Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors
- Raising awareness of adult autism