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Article

Access_open The Child’s Contact with Grandparents

Journal Family & Law, September 2021
Keywords Family life, Best interest of the child, Contact rights, Grandchildren, Grandparents
Authors prof. M. Holdgaard
AbstractAuthor's information

    Grandparents hand down their experiences, knowledge, traditions and values to their grandchildren. As a high level of grandparental involvement may play an important role in a child’s well-being, legal protection of that family relation may be in the best interest of a given child. There is a continuing interaction between family law, cultural and social norms of what constitutes a family and how family life should be, and actual family practices and structures. Due to changing family patterns combined with an increasing number of divorces and cohabiting couples with children splitting up grandparents now play an increasing role in their grandchildren’s lives. Children become members within other types of family structures, e.g. single parents (raising half-siblings), families with yours and/or mine (and joint) children etc. When a child’s family includes a step-parent with children and step-grandparents – as well as the biological parents and grandparents – a potential risk of conflict among the family members is high. Grandparents, therefore, risk losing contact or having less contact than they had previously. At first glance, there might appear to be little reason for society to regulate the practices of grandparents as providers of non-formalized childcare or to protect the rights of children in these relationships. However, due to the changing family practices and social norms, one could argue that the legal protection of contact between grandparents and grandchildren is an important legal topic in domestic law and in academic discussions in the coming years. This article articulates these issues by framing three articles that together create a thematic map in this journal on Spanish and Catalan law, and Scandinavian law as well as the grandparents’ right to maintain contact with their grandchildren under the European Convention on Human Rights seen in a context of the best interest of the child.


prof. M. Holdgaard
Marianne Holdgaard is Professor in family and inheritance law at the School of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Aalborg
Artikel

Access_open Enhanced Contact Rights for Grandparents? A Critical View from Spanish and Catalan Laws

Journal Family & Law, September 2021
Keywords Contact with grandchildren, Best interest of the child, Parental responsibilities
Authors prof. dr. J. Ribot Igualada
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines how Spanish and Catalan laws deal with claims of grandparents who seek contact with their grandchildren against the will of one or both parents, and the scope given to their rights. It starts by explaining the content and the goals of the legal reforms enacted in Spain at the beginning of the 21st century to promote grandparents’ interests. Then, it presents the case law developed in the interpretation of the relevant legal rules. The resulting state of the law is assessed, taking into account the interests of all the parties involved (parents, grandparents, and grandchildren). The experience of more than twenty years of application of the specific provisions concerning grandparents’ contact rights sheds light on the impact of giving grandparents stronger legal rights. However, it also prompts the question of whether this legislative choice might have brought about useless and potentially harmful litigation.


prof. dr. J. Ribot Igualada
Jordi Ribot Igualada is Professor of Civil Law at the Institute of European and Comparative Law and Director of the Institute of European and Comparative Private Law (University of Girona).
Article

Access_open Grandparents’ and grandchildren's right to contact under the European Convention on Human Rights

Journal Family & Law, September 2021
Keywords Grandparents, Grandchildren, Family life, Contact, Best interests of the child, Child's views
Authors Prof. K. Sandberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article explores the extent of the right to family life under Article 8 ECHR with regard to contact between grandparents and grandchildren. An analysis of decisions from the European Court of Human Rights shows that although such a right may exist, it is not strong and depends heavily on the circumstances of the specific case. The article points to what seems to be an inconsistency in the Courts approach to these cases and questions the position of the children and their views and best interests.


Prof. K. Sandberg
Kirsten Sandberg is Professor of Law at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law.

    This contribution provides an introduction to the main theme’s that are discussed in micro-, meso- and macroeconomics relating to family law. The occasion was a closed international expert seminar organized by RETHINKIN. (www.rethinkin.eu), a Scientific Research Network financed by the Research Foundation Flanders. The seminar concerned the compensation of household production between partners on the one hand, and intergenerational care for the elderly on the other. A report on the legal aspects is also available on this forum. This contribution first situates the economics of family in general, before discussing the main functions of practicing the economics of family law: (a) avoiding legislative mistakes, (b) using incentives to encourage altruistic behaviour, (c) using disincentives to discourage opportunistic behaviour and finally, (d) applying family economics as a benchmark for protective measures. It is concluded that employing the economics of family law encounters some difficulties, but that the possibilities it offers for legal development outweigh the difficulties.
    Deze bijdrage biedt een inleiding op de voornaamste thema’s die aan bod komen in de micro-, meso- en macro-familierechtseconomie. Aanleiding was een besloten internationaal expertenseminar dat werd georganiseerd door RETHINKIN. (www.rethinkin.eu), een wetenschappelijke onderzoeksgemeenschap gefinancierd door het Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen. Dat seminar betrof de compensatie van huishoudelijke productie tussen partners enerzijds en intergenerationele zorg voor ouderen anderzijds. Een verslag van het juridische gedeelte is ook op dit forum beschikbaar. Deze bijdrage situeert eerst de familie-economie in het algemeen, vooraleer in te gaan op de belangrijkste functies van de beoefening van defamilierechtseconomie: (a) het voorkomen van verkeerde wetgevende keuzen, (b) het aanmoedigen in de wetgeving van altruïstisch gedrag, (c) het ontmoedigen in de wetgeving van opportunistisch gedrag en ten slotte (d) de onzichtbare hand als opmaat voor een minimale wetgevende bescherming. De conclusie luidt dat de beoefening van de familierechtseconomie op sommige moeilijkheden stuit, maar dat de mogelijkheden ervan voor een goede rechtsontwikkeling meer gewicht in de schaal leggen.


Prof. dr. Frederik Swennen
Frederik Swennen is a senior lecturer at the University of Antwerp and an attorney at the Brussels Bar.

    Op donderdag 12 en vrijdag 13 november 2015 vond het eerste internationale besloten expertenseminarie van RETHINKIN. plaats te Gent en Kortrijk. Dit seminarie is het initiatief van de Wetenschappelijke Onderzoeks Groep (WOG) RETHINKIN. (Rethinking legal kinship studies in the Low Countries). Deze WOG is het resultaat van de samenwerking tussen enerzijds de Vlaamse Vereniging voor Familie & Recht (V.Fam.) en anderzijds de Nederlandse Alliantie Familie & Recht. Het doel van RETHINKIN. is het herdefiniëren van het familierecht in de Lage Landen (www.rethinkin.eu).
    Op het seminarie debatteerden internationale experten gedurende twee dagen over twee thema’s: de vergoeding van huishoudelijke inspanningen in relaties enerzijds en de zorg voor ouderen anderzijds. Deze topics werden op de eerste dag geanalyseerd vanuit economisch standpunt. Hierna wordt enkel ingegaan op de tweede dag van het seminarie, waarop beide thema’s in juridisch en historisch perspectief werden geplaatst.
    On Thursday 12 and Friday 13 November 2015, the first international closed expert seminar of RETHINKIN. took place in Ghent and Kortrijk. This seminar was an initiative of the Scientific Research Group (WOG) RETHINKIN. (Rethinking legal kinship studies in the Low Countries). This WOG is the result of a cooperation between the Flemish Association of Family & Law (V.Fam.) and the Dutch Alliance Family & Law. RETHINKIN. steers the scientific redefinition of family law in the Low Countries and aims at taking a leading international role in this scientific discussion (www.rethinkin.eu).
    At this seminar, international experts discussed two themes: the remuneration of household production and informal elderly care. On the fhe first day these themes were analysed from an economic point of view. On the second day of the expert seminar, both of the themes were studied from a legal and a historical perspective. In this report, only the second day of the seminar will be discussed.


Katrien De Vos Ph.D.
Katrien De Vos is promovenda aan de faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
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