Q: I haven’t seen my granddaughter for the past 7 months [...]
Ask Jackie – Where do we stand?Created by Jackie Highe in Ask Jackie
Q: I just want to know where me and my mother and son stand. My son was in a relationship with a girl which he has two children with. My son’s name is on both birth certificates and the children are aged 2 and a half and 18 months. The relationship between my son and girlfriend ended on bad terms.
She stopped my son seeing the children but was letting me and my wife see them until she found out we were letting my son come to our house and see them. Only my mother who is their great grandma could see them, then she found out that she was taking them to see my son.
So we have lost all contact with the children my son pays maintenance money to his ex-girlfriend, where do we stand with the law? My son is waiting for legal aid but this is taking a long time. Is there any other way we can get around seeing them?
A: I understand exactly why you let your son see his children – but unfortunately you played right into her hands by doing so. You don’t say whether the access was via a court order but whether it was a formal or informal agreement, you’ve given her a reason for not trusting you now.
Given that your son is named as the father on both birth certificates, it seems possible that he could successfully claim legal access to his children. He should talk to social services and explain his situation. They have a statutory duty to promote family closeness and mediate between couples. If he’s waiting for legal aid it seems that he is taking steps to make this happen.
In the meantime, you could speak to social services too and tell them how much you would like to remain part of your grandchildren’s lives. But as to rights – I’m afraid grandparents have no rights of access in law. It sounds shocking but it’s a fact.