How mediation can help with extended family

We have mentioned before how family courts can help reunite estranged grandchildren with their grandparents, but as with all family law matters it is best to avoid the courts altogether and work through the problems with the assistance of a family mediator.

Grant Stephens Family Law in Cardiff offers a family mediation service and we serve Cardiff and surrounding areas including Blackwood, Caerphilly and Pontypridd. Georgia Hookings is an experienced and fully qualified mediator who can help with a full range of different family issues.

The role of grandparents in society is crucial. They often provide childcare as parents go back to work and provide grandchildren with the love and attention that only a family member can provide.

However, when relationships between parents breakdown, or one parent dies, the grandparents on the side of the parent who is not the main carer can be left out in the cold and intentionally, or unintentionally, denied access to the grandchildren. This can be very distressing for the grandparents and also upsetting for the grandchildren, especially if they have been very close to grandparents.

The first thing for grandparents to do is to open up communications with the parents. It is vital at this stage to keep emotions out of it and to be as constructive as possible. Throwing around accusations will get you nowhere. Letters or emails may be better than a telephone call, as this way you can keep a record of what was said and when, in case things do go to court.

If arguments persist between parents and grandparents and if you are unable to reach a decision of how to move forward, then it may be time to contact a family mediator.

With a mediator you can sit down and discuss all the issues that are affecting the relationship. A parent may be very concerned that opening up relations with their in laws will grant more access to the other parent, which can be a dangerous situation, or the grandparents may have done something to upset the parent. Whatever the issues, a mediator will help to work through them constructively, giving everyone their voice.

A mediator has a strong working knowledge of family law and can therefore help to explain it to all parties. With the help of a mediator grandparents and parents can agree on a practical and realistic schedule for contact with the grandchildren.

Mediation is a much less stressful process than going through the courts and it will benefit everyone, including the children, if disputes between grandparents and parents are resolved during family mediation sessions.

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