Joint Custody Considerations for Grandparents
In cases where grandparents are seeking to become special guardians or are looking for a more formal arrangement, the terms of joint custody between the child’s parents may need to be reconsidered.
Grandparents will need to demonstrate that spending time with them is in the child’s best interest and that it will not disrupt the child’s welfare and established routine.The legal right of a grandparent to participate in a joint custody arrangement is not automatic, it must be fought for.
A Case Study on Grandparents and Child Custody in the UK
Susan, a retired teacher from Bristol, finds herself in a position where she needs to care for her eight-year-old grandson, Alex, following her daughter’s unexpected illness.
The child’s father is no longer in the picture and her daughter is hospitalised for an extended period, so she decides to pursue legal custody to ensure Alex’s welfare.
Understanding that she lacks automatic parental rights as a grandparent, Susan seeks legal advice to navigate the complexities of family law.
Her solicitor helps her to apply for a special guardianship order, which would give her the authority to make day-to-day decisions for Alex’s welfare.
Susan is then asked to demonstrate her bond with Alex and her capability to care for him. She provides evidence of her active involvement in his life, from attending school events to regular weekend stays at her home.
The court, always prioritising the child, also considers Alex’s feelings, which strongly favour living with his grandmother.
The family court recognises Susan’s longstanding and loving relationship with her grandson and grants the special guardianship order. Susan is able to apply for child maintenance from Alex’s non-resident parent, ensuring financial support.
This case study demonstrates the importance of understanding family law as a grandparent. With the right legal support and a clear understanding of the custody process, grandparents in the UK can secure the welfare and happiness of their grandchildren in times of need.