Grandparents’ and Relatives’ Family Mediation
Grandparents can offer a safe haven and a stable environment for children when they are experiencing a separation or their parents are going through a divorce.
From speaking to children in the mediation process it is clear they need to know they are not being blamed for the divorce, are cared for and sometimes they like to talk to their grandparents about what they are going through.
A lot of the grandparents we mediate with just want to spend time with their grandchildren and not be part of the separation or divorce matters the parents are looking to resolve. This is not possible unless the children’s parents allow the grandparents to continue to be involved in the grandchildrens’ lives.
If communications between parents has become strained with the parents you as grandparents may want to write a letter set in an empathetic tone and see if you can continue to see the grandchildren.
If you do not receive a reply, or are not happy with the amount of time you care for the grandchildren, then Family Mediation may be the forum for you to talk about this with the parents.
Family Mediation can provide an informal and flexible way for you to start having contact again with the grandchildren.
With the grandparents we have mediated with, the clients have used the sessions to look at the factors that caused there to be a breakdown in the contact. We have then looked at ways to improve this and how, over time, trust can be built up again and explore ways for contact to be resumed again.
Family Mediation is a voluntary process and will only work if the clients want to be at mediation. Family Mediation offers a safe forum for parents and grandparents to talk about and reach proposals that are focused on the best interests of the grandchildren.
Since 2011 Austin Chessell has spoken to grandparents at the Grandparents’ Association on how Family Mediation works at Grandparents’ Association support groups and seminars organised by Solicitors aimed at Grandparents. Austin has also worked with grandparents at contact centres since 2001 and understands the difficulties grandparents go through when they are not having contact with their grandchildren.