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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

08 MAR 2007

Grandparents' rights and grandparents' campaigns

Felicity Kaganas. Recent years have seen an awakening of interest within the legal arena and among policy makers in Britain about the legal status of grandparents in relation to their grandchildren. Pressure groups have been set up to lobby for greater recognition of the importance of grandparents and the extended family as potential carers of children who would otherwise be placed with unrelated foster carers. There are the campaigns for improved rights in relation to contact with grandchildren. Grandparents feature in the new parenting plans devised for use in England, Wales and Scotland, and these plans make it clear that parents are expected to give serious consideration to grandparent contact. This article analyses the reasons behind this move for legal recognition of grandparents' rights in relation to their grandchildren and looks at the position of grandparents in relation to the law currently. It goes on to consider the role of fathers' rights groups in the rise of grandparent campaigns and asks whether grandparent/grandchild contact is in reality the rosy picture of family content that is so often portrayed in the media. While there are undoubtedly arguments that children do benefit from contact with their grandparents, there is no conclusive evidence that this is always the case. A further ramification of the active promotion of grandparent/grandchild contact is the potentially detrimental effect on the resident parent, often the mother. See Child and Family Law Quarterly Vol 19, No 1, 2007.



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