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Date Published:11 Mar 2016 Last Updated:19 Oct 2021

Local Judge gives grandparents the right to raise their three-year-old grandson

Family Law

His Honour Judge Bond, of the Family Court in Bournemouth, ruled in favour of paternal grandparents in their application to bring up their grandson.

The decision followed a contested hearing at the Bournemouth Family Court, concerning the paternal grandparents’ application for ‘special guardianship’ of their three-year-old grandson. Their application was made as a result of the mother and father of the child commenting that they could no longer care for him. Following a court investigation, it was ruled that the boy’s father had a history of “sexual deviant behaviour” and his mother had a history of having relationships with “high-risk men”.

Despite concerns from social services that the grandparents did not appreciate the risk that the father posed to the child, and that they would be too old to deal with any behavioural problems later in the boy’s life, His Honour Judge Bond found in the paternal grandparent’s favour. His Honour Judge Bond, having considered a number of child welfare focussed factors, commented that the child had an established and happy relationship with his grandparents and that they were more than capable of caring for him. Ultimately, the court concluded that it is in the child’s best interests to be placed in the paternal grandparents’ care on a permanent basis as opposed to being placed for adoption, which was the local authority’s position.

The effect of the ruling is that the paternal grandparents now have parental responsibility for their grandson, and will be responsible for the day-to-day decisions that need to be made to the exclusion of the mother and father. This avoids the child being placed with a foster family or being adopted and ensures that the child remains integrated within his family. Their parental responsibility trumps the parents.

Special Guardianship Orders are becoming increasingly more common as a result of, for example, grandparents wishing to have a greater level of involvement in their grandchildren’s upbringing. According to data obtained by the BBC, the number of children being made subject to such orders in England has tripled in just two years.

For more information regarding Special Guardianship Orders, please do not hesitate to contact our expert family lawyers on 01202 525333.