Family and Divorce Solicitors serving Inverness and the Highlands, Scotland
Safeguard your closest relationships through the expert legal advice of Innes & Mackay family solicitors
You cannot fail to see children in the care of their grandparents.
According to the Scottish Government, as many as 69% of families rely on grandparents for childcare.
These grandparents are an invaluable source of support.
As much as both parties no doubt get huge pleasure from spending this time with each other, perhaps most importantly than all, the grandchildren are being cared for by close family members who love them and intend to nurture them as best they can.
This is why it can be particularly distressing when children lose contact with their grandparents.
It could be due to a family quarrel, a relocation or a change in who is caring for the children — the latter often arising when the parents have separated.
Legal Advice for Grandparents in Scotland
In the midst of an undoubtedly difficult period in the life of your own son or daughter, the desire to see your grandchildren (and the desires of your grandchildren to see you) can often be pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
It’s only right that the priority is the resolution of the children’s arrangements with their own parents. And the law reflects this.
Eventually though, there will come a time when the children’s relationships with their wider family needs to be considered.
Grandparents’ Rights in Scotland
Grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to contact with a grandchild who is resident in Scotland.
You should first try to speak directly with the parents to sort out arrangements for contact with grandchildren.
If there is consistent difficulty in talking to the parents, it’s time to consult an expert family law solicitor.
Only after attempts to speak directly with the parents will the solicitor suggest mediation.
Mediation for Grandparents in Scotland
Mediation will bring the conflicting parties together, face to face, to try to reach a resolution. An impartial, trained mediator will assist parties through this process.
It does, however, need to be a voluntary process. The parents have to agree to take part.
Collaborative Family Law
If mediation fails, the grandparents may then try using Collaborative Family Law to resolve the problem.
Collaborative Family Law is a different method of dispute resolution that is growing in popularity in Scotland. In Inverness, there are various family law solicitors trained in the collaborative law method.
Negotiations take place in meetings attended by all parties and their solicitors. The focus is on negotiating an agreement.
The added incentive to reach an agreement using this method is that the solicitors cannot raise — or even threaten to raise — a court action.
Final Course of Action
If both mediation and Collaborative Family Law are not successful (or not attempted) the final course of action to a grandparent is to instruct your solicitor to raise a court action.
We would always advise that grandparents proceed to court with caution.
Court action is undoubtedly adversarial. And the outcome is unpredictable.
Raising a court action against your own son or daughter — or their former partner or spouse — has the potential to further damage an already fragmented family.
But court action does also have the potential to remedy the situation.
What needs to be borne in mind at all times, is that the courts’ primary concern is with what is in the best interests of the children.
Innes & Mackay would always advise that an alternative method of dispute resolution is attempted before raising a court action.
Specialist Divorce & Family Law Solicitors Inverness, Highlands, Scotland
Innes & Mackay have been providing expert legal advice for many years on all aspects of family law. We’re experienced in litigation and all methods of alternative dispute resolution.
We have a solicitor who is trained in collaborative family law and is also a mediator.
We pride ourselves on offering legal advice that reflects our client’s needs and take an objective approach to delivering a professional and friendly service.
For more information regarding family mediation see www.relationships-scotland.org.uk
For more information regarding Collaborative Family Law see www.consensus-scotland.com