What will the future hold for Sydney and Amanda? A look at the legal implications for Grantchester's characters
I like many have been an avid watcher of ITV's Grantchester and being set decades ago, it is making for interesting watching from a legal perspective!
The second series has just finished with Sydney Chambers, the main character and village vicar, embracing his true love Amanda Hopkins. Earlier, Amanda married Guy Hopkins, despite deep down the viewers knowing that she loved Sydney, and he loved her. She accepted Guy's proposal because when he asked her it was the 1950s and she was expected to marry someone of a similar social class to her. Sydney never proposed to Amanda as he felt he was not good enough for her, she being from a wealthier background than him.
Now Amanda has left the sullen and slightly menacing Guy Hopkins, and run into Sydney's arms for the series' finale. Amanda, though, is not only still married but pregnant with her husband's child. The series is set decades before the current legislation governing children matters, the Children Act 1989, came into force, in 1991, at a time where paternal rights and views very much dominated what happened to a child upon the separation of his or her parents.
The Children Act 1989 puts the welfare of the child at the centre of the legislation as it mandates that this is to be the court's paramount consideration. There is then a list of factors set out in the Welfare Checklist in the statute which set out further what the court is to consider. These are all child-focused matters, for example the child's wishes and feelings, considered in the light of the child's age and understanding. Others are: the likely effect on the child of any change in his or her circumstances; the child's physical, emotional and educational needs; and the harm or risk of harm the child has suffered or might suffer.
Guy Hopkins is not a man who anyone should cross lightly. It is therefore with much anticipation that I await the next series to see how the legal issues will be tackled by the script writers, both with the pending child and also in relation to any divorce which may be proposed.
For any further help about children matters, or other aspect of family law, please do not hesitate to contact me or one of my colleagues in the Blake Morgan family team.