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In custody battles, grandparents suffer most PDF Print E-mail
(8 Votes)
Written by Karthika Gopalakrishnan   

Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN Oct 2, 2011, 12.32AM IST

CHENNAI: In the crossfire of a divorce battle between their children and respective spouses, grandparents often suffer the most when denied access to their grandchildren, lawyers say. Taking a look at this spillover effect of divorces on the occasion of International Elders' Day, advocates say that in the absence of legal provisions, there is no room for grandparents to seek remedy from courts in this regard.

"I often get calls from grandparents saying they are not able to see their grandchildren at all. It's especially hard if a divorce has happened within a joint family set-up. Mothers take their children away and do not allow grandparents to visit. A parent who has moved away knows that this would hurt grandparents the most," said Sheila Jayaprakash, a reputed family court lawyer.

Apart from tensions in the warring couple, friction between the in-laws and a parent can trigger a sense of vindictiveness even after divorce proceedings have ended, lawyers note. This could be another reason to prevent a child from visiting its grand-parents.

Small issues can create disagreements leading to a divorce, Adhilakshmi Logamurthy, a senior advocate and legal consultant, said. "Mothers-in-law, who stay with their sons, tend to be very particular about how their daughters-in-law dress, cook food and do puja. I have seen huge fights erupt because these things are not done to a mother-in-law's satisfaction," she said.

Clinical psychologist and part-time marital therapist at a family court Nappinai Seran said it definitely left an emotional vacuum for grandparents when children were taken away from a joint family.

"I am currently handling a case of a six-year-old who has been living with her grandparents and father for the last nine days because her mother is working, separated from the family and has no time to help the child prepare for exams. Her mother put up a lot of resistance because she was insecure that her child would be separated from her. Her child was the trump card for reunion with the husband as well," she said. However, the child was apprehensive and confused about the visits because she was scared of what her mother would think, Dr Seran added.

"The best way to resolve these issues is to make some basic adjustments, engage in a little give-and-take. I always tell my clients that one must forgive people and accept them for what they are rather than what they want them to be," Dr Seran said.


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