From the Opinion pages of the Yorkshire Post, 10/08/2010.
We must help the grandparents hit by divorce
By Marilyn Stowe
AFTER more than 25 years in family law, I am not easily shocked. However the plight of many grandparents, within a legal system that downgrades their contribution to family life and denies them automatic rights of contact with their grandchildren, has never ceased to disturb me.
Earlier this year, I advised the makers of Coronation Street on a dramatic storyline involving three of the soap’s characters: a six-year-old boy, fought over by his wayward father and his maternal grandfather. The storyline had been envisaged with a courtroom custody battle as its climax. When I explained the time that this would take and the rarity of such a situation in real life, because of the legal hoops through which the grandfather would have to jump just to get through the door of that courtroom, the programme’s researchers were incredulous.
They aren’t the only ones. Squeezed out of family life following a divorce and missing their grandchildren terribly, the desperate grandparents who seek my team’s help are often horrified to discover that the blood relationship between a child and a grandparent means nothing in law.
Could this be about to change? Continue reading »