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SKU: 3.53
  • Advice

    Benefits if you are caring for your grandchildren

    Grandparents normally qualify for Child Benefit if they are responsible for a child under 16 years who lives with them in the UK. If more than one person claims child benefit, then the person the child lives with most will get priority. You may be able to make a new claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get working tax credits or you get a severe disability premium. If you are retired and receive a state pension, then you may be able to apply for Pension Credit. If you are caring for a disabled child, then you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance.


    Temporary custody

    If grandparents see that a parent is struggling to look after their grandchild/grandchildren, then they can seek to care for their grandchild/grandchildren temporarily. This could be for many reasons, such as parents needing to travel for work and there is no one else to look after the child, or there could be a medical reason which means they temporarily will not be able to fully care for their child. They do not need to go to Court to arrange this. Instead, they could come to a mutual agreement with the legal guardian about how long they will have their grandchild/grandchildren and any other things they would like to be in place. 


    However, in cases where they may be doing this for quite some time, then it is suggested they make an application for temporary guardianship. This would be for a limited time, but ensure that the grandparents are given the same legal rights as the parents. This can be useful in circumstances where the child's parent is inaccessible for a while, thus allowing grandparent/s to make urgent decisions regarding their grandchild during emergencies.


    If grandchildren are fostered or adopted

    When a child is taken into care, the local authority must encourage contact with the child’s parents, not their grandparent/s. It is vital therefore to establish contact with the local authority and the children’s department in particular. This will then allow them to identify who you are and help to facilitate communication with their grandchild/grandchildren.

    Grandparent/s can apply for an order that initiates contact with your grandchild/grandchildren. This can be made at the same time as an adoption order. However, in practice, this is very rare and can also be difficult unless the adoption is within the family. It is also important to remember that once their grandchildren have turned 18 years old, they will have the right to decide whom they want to see and spend time with. Therefore, you can increase contact with them at this time, if that is what they want.


    When a parent dies

    When a parent dies, especially if that parent is your child, it can become possible to lose contact with your grandchildren. It may become even more upsetting for your grandchild if they lose contact with you also. Maintaining contact with the remaining parent can provide access and allow you to support the family through a difficult time. Grandparents become a crucial link to the child's parent and help them stay connected to their late parent. If the parent was a single parent and left a will, this should outline whom they nominated to be the guardian. For example, grandparents could be named the legal guardian of the child. However, if a guardian is not outlined, then the immediate family may make the arrangements. If a dispute arises, the court will be asked to resolve this issue and decide who will be the guardian for the child. 

    The court will always consider what is in the child's best interest, and when compared to foster care, it may just be that they place the child with the grandparents. 


    How we can help

    Lestons would appoint a third-party family mediator for you, they will hold a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) who will act as liaison with all parties to create a court report. They will determine the type of “Order” required and complete all the court forms. Please note the driver in this will be the children themselves, they will be asked privately what solution they would like. It is then hoped that each adult will agree to their wish. As in every negotiation there needs to be some give and take. Ultimately if there is an impasse then the court will decide.


    In regard to the third-party mediator please note we make no commission from such referrals. To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link.Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by the mediator and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

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