Grandparents have a great love for their grandchildren. They want to spend more time with them. But sometimes the parents don’t want their parents to see their children. It is not good for them. But this is an unusual situation but what happens if the parents divorce. In this scenario the laws are different, let’s learn a little about the grandparents rights in Australia.
Grandparents rights in Family law:
In Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 applies in cases of separation, division, property division and custody of children. Grandparents have the right to apply in Family court and ask for the time to spend with their grandchildren. They can also ask for their custody in case of divorce or separation.
The Family Act Law clearly states that grandparents can apply to the court for the best interest of their grandchildren. But it does not give them an automatic right to have a relation with the children.
Custody of children after custody of parents:
In most cases, parents can easily decide who will keep the children. Also, they don’t face any difficulty in making decisions for other aspects of their child’s life. They can put these decisions into a written agreement which is known as a parenting plan. Parents can make these arrangements more formal by writing consent orders and registering the document in the Family Court.
If you feel that your relationship with the children will not be the same after the separation of their parents, you can ask their parents to include you in the parenting plan or the consent orders. It is not wise to leave the child’s best interest while making such documents.
What are the child’s best interests?
When the parents are separating the court looks at:
- Is the child comfortable around both parents?
- Protection of the child.
The Court also considers:
- How the child feels about his/her parents.
- Relationship of the child with parents, grandparents and other relations.
- The willingness of each parent to support the relationship of the child with the other parent.
- Effect of separation on the child.
- The capacity of each parent to support the needs of the child.
- The lifestyle and background of the child and parents.
- Each parent’s love for the child and role in parenting.
- Any violence in the family.
- Any other point the Court thinks relevant to the case.
Are you not allowed to see your grandchildren?
Sometimes grandparents are not allowed to see their grandchildren. It happens due to the breakdown of relationships with your child. Also, if the parents are divorced then the other parent may stop you from seeing the child.
Unfortunately, the grandparents do not have the primary right to have custody of the child. But, any person who can show enough care and love for the child may apply to the court for parenting orders. If you have a parenting order then you can spend time with the child.
Parental rights vs grandparent rights:
There is not a big difference in parents rights against grandparents rights in Australia. But they are not the official guardians of the child until they have a parenting order from the court. If the grandparents feel that their grandchildren are not getting proper parenting, they can apply to the court for custody of the child. If the parents make an agreement for the child after separation, the grandparents can ask parents to add their rights also in the agreement. But still, if the court can order to stop grandparents from seeing the child according to the child’s best interest.
How to see grandchild?
The grandparents have rights to see grandchildren in QLD and all around Australia. But if you are having problems with their parents you can follow the given procedure to see your child.
- Get legal advice: Each situation is unique, so you should get legal advice.
- Dispute resolution: Before going to court try to make an agreement with parents to save time and money.
- Going to Court: If unfortunately, dispute resolution fails, you can contact the Court to get an order to spend time with your grandchild.
This is a simple and effective procedure. If you have any query you can contact us to get legal advice.
Frequently asked questions:
If my daughter has named me as the guardian of her children will they live with me and not their father when she dies?
Even if you are named as the guardian of the child you don’t have the legal right to force the child to live with you. You can ask the court for the custody of the child. If the other parent agrees that the children will live with you, you will still need Court orders. If you don’t have a court order you will have difficulty in dealing with schools, doctors or government departments.
Do grandparents get financial assistance?
If you are responsible for at least 35% care of your grandchild you may receive child support. The child support agency calculates care according to the number of nights that the child is expected to spend with you in a year that is 12 months.
Can I take custody of the child from my daughter?
Sometimes the child’s parents may not be the best of parents. They may have a mental illness or addiction which can affect the life of a child. If you find the child’s life at risk you should contact Child Safety Services. If you think that the child is safe with you you can ask the Court to take custody of the child.