In the breakdown of a marriage, grandparents can become unintended victims of the fallout arising from sparring parents when their time with the grandchildren is reduced, or even eliminated, in the fight over custody.
If you are a grandparent who fears losing contact with your grandchildren, your first option should be to approach the parents and explain that, no matter what the problems are between them, you as a grandparent are not taking sides, but merely want to maintain contact with your grandchildren.
In reality, however, the relationship between the parents is likely to have broken down to the extent that this approach will not get you the results you are hoping for.
Another approach could be a carefully drafted letter from your lawyer aimed at diffusing tension and putting across why contact with you might benefit your grandchildren. In this approach, the objective input from an external party (the lawyer) could help put things into perspective for the divorcing couple and help them to realise how their actions are affecting the people around them.
Our experienced and tactful team at Yeo Law will be happy to provide guidance on the best way forward and assist in drafting the necessary letters.
If no progress is made through these conciliatory methods, you might have to turn to more formal avenues such as mediation or the Courts.
Mediation is an option in which an independent mediator will try and help you reach an agreement with the parents. For this to take place, both sides have to agree to mediate. At Yeo Law we are able to make referrals to mediation providers and will be glad to help you through the process.
Alternatively, you may wish to turn to the Courts for help. The Family Justice Courts have recognised the value of the role grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives. We can help you make applications to the Court to try and arrange contact on a formalised basis.
This will often involve the appointment of a MCYS officer to look at any welfare issues that need to be considered and to prepare a report to help the Court come to a decision.
Applying to Court requires specialist help and advice and you will need to budget somewhere between S$1,500 and S$5,000 for legal fees. We can advise on costs for your particular case in our free half hour telephone appointment. Yeo Law’s team of family lawyers have extensive experience in all types of family law applications and have helped many grandparents successfully maintain contact with their grandchildren.