Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Tynwald committee to review rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren

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Image caption The legal rights of grandparents on the Isle of Man are the same as in the UK

The rights of grandparents in the Isle of Man to see their grandchildren are to be reviewed by a Tynwald committee.

Grandparents currently have to obtain a court order to see them if either parent denies access.

The Social Affairs Policy Review Committee will examine whether a change in the law is required.

Julie Edge MHK said it can be "a challenge" for grandparents to play a part in their grandchildren's lives following their parents' separation.

She said children "may feel vulnerable" at a time when their parents' relationship breaks down.

The impact on young people's mental health and wellbeing of not being able to spend time with their grandparents "may well be substantial and long-lasting", Ms Edge warned.

'Heartache'

Supporting calls for a review, Kerry Sharp MLC said it was an issue that could cause "a great deal of heartache for grandchildren, parents and grandparents alike".

The matter was brought to Tynwald for debate after a petition calling for grandparents to be given statutory rights was presented on Tynwald Day in July.

It called for "proper legislation" to prevent access being denied for "spurious reasons", and to stop children being used as "bargaining chips" by their parents.

Mrs Sharp advised a degree of caution, however.

"Most grandparents would feel that it is their right to see their own flesh and blood but, at the same time, if grandparents were granted statutory rights to see their grandchildren, others argue that this could erode parental rights," she said,

It was "not a subject which is going away", Mrs Sharp said, adding that it deserved "further exploration and review".

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