Grandparents hold an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, with many families relying on grandparents to care for their children whilst they work to support the family. When families break up, this often has an effect on grandparents and the roles that they have previously played.
Unfortunately for some grandparents, they become excluded from their grandchildren's lives. What, if anything, can they do to ensure that they can still spend time with their grandchildren?
The Family Law Act is the principal legislation when it comes to the care of children. It states that the primary concern when making an order for the care of a child is to consider what is in their best interests. It does not provide any rights to grandparents or parents; rather, it is the child that has the right to a meaningful relationship with their parents and significant other people in their lives. A meaningful relationship involves spending time and communicating with those people on a regular basis.
Should a dispute arise and you are not provided any time with your grandchildren, the first step is to attend family dispute resolution, an informal process whereby the parents and grandparents would discuss the issue and try to reach a resolution. However, if that is unsuccessful, grandparents can apply for orders through the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court of Australia.
When making a parenting order the Court is required to consider the child's relationship with other persons such as grandparents or other relatives of the children. Therefore, a grandparent will need to show that they have had a meaningful involvement in the children's lives before seeking that an order should be made for them to spend time with the children.
If you have any questions or would like to arrange a time to discuss your personal situation, you can contact us in Bathurst, Lithgow, and Oberon on (02) 6331 2911.
We’re here to help you and your family.
Lauren Sheraton| Family Law Solicitor