Grandparent’s play an important role in a child’s life and can often be left out of consideration in relationship breakdowns.
There can be a number of reasons why a grandparent may be prevented from having a relationship with their grandchild, including:
- The relationship with their own child has broken down and they will not allow the grandparents to see their grandchildren;
- The parents have separated and one parent won’t allow the grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren; and
- The grandparent is the primary carer for the grandchild/children and one of the parents is seeking to take the care back of the child.
So what are your rights as a grandparent?
Grandparents do not have an automatic right to have a relationship with a grandchild. However, children have a right to spend time and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development.
How can you see your grandchild/children?
Grandparents should try to resolve their disputes with parents informally by attempting to mediate the dispute with the other parties.
If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can apply to the Court for an order to communicate and spend time with your grandchild/children. When considering the application, the court will take into account amongst other things the following:
- The nature of the relationship with the grandchildren;
- The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances including the effect of separation from the grandparent; and
- The capacity for the grandparents to provide for the needs of the child.
The Court may make a Parenting Order that you can spend time with or communicate with your grandchild. It will be up to the Court to decide what will happen, based on what is in the child’s best interests.