Looking out for your grandchildren.
Are you a grandparent caring for your grandchildren or worried about a family separation
affecting your time with them? Or perhaps you are a grandparent that has been
stopped from seeing your grandchild, or you are concerned about
your grandchild's safety or well-being?
What rights do I have as a grandparent?
Whilst there is no automatic right for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren, the law acknowledges the importance of children having a relationship with their grandparents. We have experience representing grandparents and can provide you with expert advice.
In determining the outcome of a parenting application the court will look at what is best for the child.
It is important to remember that this process is not about a grandparent's right to see their grandchild but rather the rights of the child to know and be cared for by both parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development, such as grandparents.
A child's best interest is a paramount consideration in making parenting orders.
In determining what is in the child's best interest the court will consider the relationship the child has with his/her parents and with the child's grandparents as well as other relatives. The court will also look at many other factors including the views of the child, the effect of any change to the current situation on the child and any family violence involving the child or the child's family.
Parenting orders aren't just for parents
Pursuant to the Family Law Act not only parents can seek parenting orders. Children have the right to spend time with other people, such as grandparents, who are important to their care, welfare and development.
We have extensive experience representing grandparents in ensuring that they maintain contact with their grandchildren following a relationship breakdown between the parents.
A grandparent can take action
A grandparent could, for example, apply for a parenting order to spend defined periods of time with a grandchild, or for a child to live with his/her grandparents. Such an application can be made whether the parents of the child are together or separated.
Sometimes grandparents are stopped from seeing their grandchildren. This may happen where a grandparent's relationship with their own child, or their child's spouse, has broken down.
If this occurs a grandparent can take steps to try and change the situation.
Family Relationship Centres and other mediation services can provide dispute resolution sessions. This involves a trained and independent person assisting the family to explore possible solutions. In situations that are urgent or where mediation has not worked, an application can be made to the family law courts for parenting orders.
Speak with a lawyer.
Our senior family lawyers are Accredited Specialists in Victoria. A discussion with an experienced advisor can help you find clarity in your next steps.