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The Nation and the Oprah Interview with Harry & Megan

Author: Shanni Sandhu & Ms Reyat

As you are all aware, over the past couple of weeks, there has been substantial media interest in respect to the interview of Harry and Megan and the intricacies they have faced in their marriage.

We often hear horror stories from clients about the dreaded ‘in-laws’ and the impact that they have had in their marriage. Interestingly, the national parenting phone help line has estimated that around 20% of their calls involve problems with in-laws because “either parent feels that in-laws are behaving negatively, helping too much or not enough, or it’s grandma worried about the way her grandchildren are being brought up.”

When making the decision to get married, the focus tends to be about how much two people love one another rather than any practical points. Usually, the attention falls into the wedding dress like no other; the venue that allows for all your guests but still has the scenic views that you have always dreamed of; and selecting/the maid of honour/best man/bridesmaids/groomsmen.

It is often easy to overlook other aspects of married life while planning for your big day and to be caught up with the excitement of the wedding day. We have set out some practical things to consider about married life:

  1. Discuss your views on faith/religion.
  2. Whether you want children.
  3. Whether the children will be raised in a specificfaith/religion.
  4. The role of grandparents in the children’s lives.

Can I stop the children’s grandparents from seeing my children?

Grandparents do not have legal rights to see grandchildren in England & Wales nor do they automatically have Parental Responsibility (even if the Grandmother is the Queen), however this does not mean that they have no alternative option.

If there is conflict between the parents and grandparents which results in the parents deciding not to agree to their children spending time with the grandparents; the latter can apply to the Family Court for permission to make an application to spend time with their grandparents.

It is very rare that the Family Court would refuse the grandparents access to their grandchildren unless there is evidence of domestic abuse or the grandchildren are being exposed to harm if they were to spend time with the grandparents.

What will the Court consider?

  • The reasons the application has been madeby the grandparents.
  • The relationship between the grandparentsand the children.
  • The impact of the children not spendingtime with the grandparents.
  • Weighing up whether it is the children’sinterests to have a meaningful and on-goingrelationship with their grandparents.
  • The impact on other family members if thechildren were to spend time with thegrandparents.

Parents will have the right to oppose an application and put forward evidence in support of opposing contact between the children and grandparents.

We can help if you need legal advice

If you require further support or guidance, do not hesitate to contact the Family Department at Noble Solicitors on 01582 544 370 and ask to speak to Miss Shanni Sandhu, Senior Associate Solicitor.

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