Seven grandparents a day apply for child contact orders in an effort to see their grandchildren, the government has revealed.
Grandparents made a total of 2,517 applications for child contact orders in the year to 2014, slightly less than in the previous year, when 2,649 applications were made, but more than in the year to 2012, when the total was 2,319.
The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Steve McCabe. He asked the Secretary of State for Justice:
“…how many applications for Court Orders there have been from grandparents wishing to see grandchildren after the divorce of the parents of those children in the last three years.”
Non-profit organisation National Family Mediation blamed the government for the phenomenon.
CEO Jane Robey noted the fact that grandparents have no automatic right to contact with their grandchildren following separation or divorce. The government had failed to properly communicate alternative methods of resolving family disputes, she claimed, methods which could avoid court action altogether.
“Making an approach to court should be used only as a last resort by anxious grandparents. Our worry is that the huge majority of the 2,517 grandparents applying for court orders in 2014 knew nothing about the alternative options available to them.”
Photo by lauren.heavner under a Creative Commons licence