UK

Grandparent access: Your stories

  • 31 March 2011
  • From the section UK
Brothers
Image caption Children can wait over a year for their futures to be decided, the report said

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 a "statement in law" about the importance of both parents having a relationship with their children.

BBC News website readers have been reacting to the proposals and sharing their stories and experiences.

Linda, Exeter

I have not seen my grandson since he was five-years-old and now he is nearly 12.

We used to see him every other weekend, but his mother met another man, married him and now doesn't want my son to see his son.

My son was living with me so because his mother and new stepfather would not let his father see him, I was unable to see him also.

As my son was never married to my grandson's mother he has no rights at all, even though his name is on the birth certificate and my grandson had my son's surname.

I do get to hear how he is through a person at work, she is a family friend of my grandson's mother, and I used to pass on presents for his birthday but I know it was causing the little boy stress so I stopped.

I do get upset, but I don't want to make things worse.

Name witheld, Herefordshire

Because my son and his wife are now divorced, I don't get to see my granddaughters as much as I did when they were married.

We all lived together for the first two years of my son's marriage so I was with my granddaughter everyday.

When we moved out I used to have both granddaughters to stay with me and their grandad every other weekend.

We are now lucky if we see them once a month, and that is only for one night, when it used to be for the whole weekend and then we would take them to school the next day.

When the oldest granddaughter does stay she gets upset when she has to go back home with her mother.

So it would be good if grandparents were allowed some rights to see their grandchildren.

Yvonne, Shrewsbury

I have not had contact with my eldest granddaughter in over seven years (she is nine now), this is mainly through misunderstandings and selfishness (on all sides).

Although I have other grandchildren I miss her and I worry that I will pass her on the street and not know her.

I send her birthday and Christmas presents but receive no response to say she has received them.

I would welcome a change in the law, but I think enforcing this change will be difficult and could cause unnecessary suffering to the children it is trying to help.

More of your comments

My stepson, despite several court contact orders, is being denied access to his two children which in turn means that we cannot see our grandchildren. Until there is a law that enforces contact orders, this will never change. In court everything is agreed, knowing full well that as soon as the children's mother leaves court she doesn't need to abide by the order as 'no-one will take her children off her.' My grandchildren, 10 and seven years old, are the ones missing out on contact with the extended family because of this. Sue, Derby

What about grandparents who are not allowed to see their grandchildren? My son fell out with me nine years ago. I have had Christmas and birthday presents sent back. I would love to see my grandchildren. Gill, Kidderminster

We have great difficulty in dealing with our son's partner, who frequently treats us and her own parents, with contempt causing us all great heartache, always changing plans at the last minute. Our son has not been able to get her address, and most importantly she is using our granddaughter like a pawn, and causing our granddaughter great stress, so I fully back a change in the law. Mr and Mrs W, South Gloucestershire

I am a grandparent. My son separated from his wife last year, and although access to my grandson has not been hindered so far, I feel it could be in the future due to the ongoing conflict between my son and his soon to be ex-wife. I am astonished that there is no law to protect grandparents' rights to access. I feel as a grandparent it is vitally important to keep that contact with the child. It's as if grandparents are being penalised for their children's broken marriages and relationships. Grandparents have always been seen as the backbone of the family unit, it would be a shame to deny any child that point of contact. Liza, Cheshire

I am a stepmother to a 12-year-old boy whose mother has systematically controlled and obstructed his contact with any relations on his father's side. I have watched the great sadness and bewilderment that this has caused to two caring loving grandparents whose only crime is to be the parent of the divorced partner. I think it is high time that a system is put in place to ensure that where possible, children of separated or divorced parents are given access to all their relations in the hope that they grow up with a balanced, unprejudiced view of their family and heritage. Christine, Devon