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Grandparents’ Rights to see their Grandchildren

Grandparents have the right to see and spend time with their grandchildren.  Access to grandchildren can be restricted or prevented by the parents typically due to divorce or breakdown of a de-facto relationship. The Family Law Act acknowledges that children should have a continuing relationship with their grandparents and other family members such as aunts and uncles who play a significant role in the care of the child/ren.

These rights are not just limited to family relationships, but anyone who has been involved with the child to a significant degree. Our family lawyers who act in matters involving grandparents’ rights will be able to advise you about the process so that you, as the grandparents or significant other, can gain access rights to see your grandchildren.

After a divorce of separation, grandparents spending time with their grandchildren is maintained through an amicable family relationship between the grandparents and their child. When this relationship breaks down grandparents will still want to see their grandchild grow and maintain contact with them. You have rights under the Family Law Act that are designed to ensure that your grandchildren continue to have a relationship with you. This can also be done if there is no breakdown in a relationship, but you have been prevented from seeing your grandchildren.

What does in the “Best Interests of the Child” mean?

In all children’s matters the Courts are always mindful of the best interests of the children. This is the most important consideration to look at and if you are not seeing your grandchild as much as you would like you need to obtain expert advice as soon as possible. In the past the Courts have been critical if a person has delayed in making an application to spend time. Having the right advice early on is key to allowing you to get back to seeing your grandchildren.

Accessing your rights to see your grandchildren

If a sensible agreement cannot be reached, then mediation with a family dispute resolution practitioner is generally the next step.  In an appropriate case we will always prefer mediation early on so that, if an agreement can be reached, it is done so without much delay.

If the parties aren’t able to come to an arrangement that is in the best interests of the children we can assist you in making a court application. This then gives a Judge the opportunity to hear your side of the story, the parents story and, depending on the age of the child, the child’s side of the story. The paramount consideration will be what is in the child’s best interests.

To work out what is in the child’s best interest there are many factors at which a Judge will look. These range from being protected from risk or harm to how often a person (whether it be a parent or grandparent) spends time with the child.

Our lawyers often find that grandparents step into the void left by a parent of the child who is not able to look after the child because of drug or mental health issues. This is a big ask and something you probably did not see yourself doing and helping your grandchild is your only motivation. Our family lawyers will discuss these factors with you in detail and explain how a Court looks at the situation.

It might be the case that the parents are refusing your right to spend any time at all with your grandchild. An important premise in family law is insight and how the behaviour of a party can affect the child and if this is happening to you the you should do something about it by contacting our experienced grandparent rights lawyers as soon as possible.

The process of going through Court can take some time but ultimately the aim is making sure that the best interests of the grandchild are met.

How we can help…

Having an experienced and understanding family lawyer to help you navigate the system and advise you of your legal rights is vitally important. The right lawyer will advise you and present your case in the best possible light and reality check any arguments that may be presented from the other side.

If you are the parent of a child and in a dispute with a grandparent regarding custody of your child and how time is spent with them, we can assist you also. Family matters can be frustrating, and we work diligently to alleviate the pressure and stress on our clients in these types of matters.

We work through your matter ensuring that you have the best chance of success in resolving your family matter in the best interests of the child. We can advise you on mediation and practical steps that can improve your chances of success in these types of custody matters. Our team are experienced, understanding and professional family lawyers.

Call today to speak with one of our friendly family lawyers on 1300 907 335 or, alternatively, complete an online enquiry form and we will promptly contact you.

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