Ok, it’s easy to sneer at the concept – there are “days” for everything nowadays: a quick Google search reveals that in October 2014 we will be celebrating Techies Day (3rd October), showing our concern over Pet Obesity Awareness Day (8th October) and munching our way through Pizza Month (that’s one I can get on board with!)
Sunday 5th October 2014 is Grandparents’ Day, and like many of these newer holidays the idea does tend to raise an eyebrow. Unlike Bring Your Teddy To Work Day (October 8th) (which we won’t be observing here at King Street Solicitors), I would argue that there is merit in a day which prompts us to reflect on everything our grandparents do.
Age UK is calling on people to share pictures of their grandparents in celebration of the contribution older people make to society by capturing special moments in time. To read more about Age UK’s Grandparents’ Day campaign, visit: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/grandpics/ . The photo at the top of this article is of my lovely grandparents in response to the Age UK campaign.
As a child care solicitor, I regularly represent grandparents who, having thought that that their parenting days were behind them, step forward to care for grandchildren whose parents are not in a position to do so. These grandparents ensuring that those children can have a secure and loving home within their birth family when, in many cases, the alternative would be a childhood spent in the care system.
For these grandparents, the right help and support is vital. I support grandparents to achieve the right legal orders and the necessary financial and practical support to care for their grandchildren. In many cases Local Authorities can assist with legal costs – and in other cases legal aid is available. Setting up these family arrangements on the best possible basis gives grandparents and their grandchildren means these family arrangements are more likely to last.
Sadly, I am often consulted by grandparents who are prevented from seeing their grandchildren after the breakdown of a marriage or relationship. Whilst the term “grandparents rights” often used in the press is not reflected in the law, it is true that Courts are more and more willing to recognise the important role which grandparents can play in the lives of their grandchildren. Whilst legal aid is unlikely to be available, we offer fixed fees and often find that some limited involvement from us at an early stage does help to get contact back under way – to the benefit of the children involved who, at the centre of a parental break-up, can benefit enormously from their grandparents love and support.
So, this Grandparents’ Day, instead of rolling our eyes – why not choose to celebrate it, and everything our grandparents do for us?