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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34900
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Do young children have the right to have continued contact

Customer Question

Do young children have the right to have continued contact with much loved grandparents, the absence of whom must be causing excessive sadness? The mother died fourteen months after birth, during which time the grandmother was primary carer, establishing an extremely close and dependent relationship, however it seems that the father has decided to block all contact with the paternal family, consisting of many very supporting aunts, uncles and cousins, together with his grandparents. This situation has been reported to social services who seem to have their arm tied. There is much actual evidence of the boy's affection, particularly his grandmother.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old is the child now?
When did the Grand parents last see the child?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The boy was 6 on the 15 April last. Grandfather last saw him in June 2014 and the grandmother got a last glimpse of him 15 Aug. The last actual contact was June 2014.

Originally we took him to parks, zoo's and the beach etc. having purchased annual tickets. But the father stopped us doing this by reducing the visit times to 2 hours about once every 5 weeks, allowing only park visits. At the end of the school holiday 2013 we asked him if he had visited his favorite zoos during the holiday, and he told us he had done nothing and no visits, not even the parks.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Prior to June 2014 what was the pattern of contact?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

After the boy was born we had him all the time for about three months, and when the father felt able he was gradually given back to him. We then had him so stay over, from time to time a few times each month, and would look after him when his father practiced his music etc. His father would go away for days or a week to do gigs, sometimes abroad, so we had him for longer periods. After about two years of enjoying regular contact, it diminished to about once a month, when we could take him to the zoo's, beach parks ect. He loved these times, for which we have rather a lot of smiley photos. Probably his second most pleasurable activity was to play in our garden with his nan and myself. We had a huge trampoline, and we have many photos testifying to his extreme pleasure of playing with his nan on this. We would play all sorts of games, we had a sand pit in which we would make all sorts of things.

We had a karaoke set up in a large chalet, he loved to sing and shout on the microphones. His joy was so great and he laughed so much he sometime had a job to stand up. You can imagine the pleasure we had with him. When he started school the visits were shortened to two hours about once a month, but sometimes we were allowed to visit him at home. On the final time we were allowed to have him his father brought him to us. When his nan opened the door he threw himself at her, hugging her and asking for his grandfather, (Me) he ran in to meet me hugging me very tightly. It is our belief that perhaps his father does not realize that a little boy can love and need many people. Perhaps he felt that his love for us meant that his love for his father was diminishing. His father does not believe in letting him cry if he falls over. Once when he fell in his sitting room only slightly hurting himself, his nan said "Oh dear, come for a cuddle, and he ran to her, she kissed his head and made his feel better. But his father was very angry, saying "Leave him alone, don't baby him, he has to grow up tough." He shouldn't cry! So our time with him was soon stopped after that. He simply would not let us see him again.

Thank you for reading this, we are very sad indeed, as we feel the boy must be very unhappy. Has the father told him we don't love him any more? He also has a large family of doting aunts uncles and cousins. He has cut off all contact with them.

John R House

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Just to check - is the father your son?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

The father is my son in law, the husband of my deceased daughter.

You mention the £38. Please be sure to advise me if you have to charge more than this, before the event.

Many thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Thank you - and I am sorry for your loss - I know the pain never fades.
Whilst grandparents have no automatic right to contact - or even to apply to the courts for contact - where there is an existing relationship the Courts will grant permission for grandparents to apply for contact AND in these circumstances - where this is the only way he will have a relationship with his maternal family - contact WILL be granted
The starting point is to arrange to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting with a Family Mediator
IF the father will mediate then fair enough - otherwise you will need to apply to the courts for a Child Arrangement Order using the C100 here
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details