Divorce is a difficult time for all parties and it is widely known that it can cause significant breakdowns in communication, especially in separations where children are concerned. One aspect sometimes given little thought is the effect a family breakdown can have on the relationship between a grandparent and their grandchildren.
Grandparents are often one of the most important figures in a child’s life, being able to offer a lifetime of guidance and reassurance which can be invaluable in times of change. When there is a family separation, as a Grandparent you can be left with conflicting loyalties and it is often helpful to establish an environment where everyone can speak without fear of criticising each other or other absent parties, whilst avoiding the child feeling responsible for the lack of contact.
This safe environment can be created with the help of mediation. It is also understandable that as a parent it can be difficult to establish a connection with your child’s grandparents that is independant from your ex partner, which is another factor mediation can help with greatly.
In the UK Grandparents have no automatic rights to child visitation, although court intervention can sometimes lead to an Order for contact, where it is considered in the child’s best interests. This is by far not guaranteed and going to court is a stressful process that can also have a detrimental effect on any children involved.
Children cannot always understand why they are not allowed to see their Grandparents and can feel a heightened sense of abandonment in what is already a very upsetting time. Notwithstanding, going through court processes can be lengthly, expensive and cause undue stress on any children affected as well as risking depriving all sides from a good relationship that is beneficial for the family as a whole.
It is important to establish a channel of communication to avoid such outcomes. Mediation can help families to understand each other and communicate effectively in a manner which creates a good atmosphere and a solid foundation for any children caught in the crossfire.
Even if the relationship seems currently irreparable, mediation can help in healing any broken bonds and aide in walking you through the steps needed to not only gain regular visitation between grandparents and their grandchildren but conceive a lifelong secure relationship between all three generations, even if it is as simple as writing a conciliatory letter.
Contact the National Family Mediation Service for free on 03300101367 to start mediation now.