Grandparents under the Family Law Act have a right to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives.
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Family law recognises your rights to spend time with and care for your grandchildren. This extends to other significant family members.
Grandparents (as well as significant family members) under the Family Law Act in Australia have a right to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives. This is a secondary right to the rights of the biological parents of the children.
The grandparents must be significant grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren. They must have a strong relationship and bond with their grandchildren to allow them to bring this application.
Grandparents normally have an involvement with their grandchildren during the times that the mother or father or both have the children in their care. However, where one parent for reasons that have little or no foundation prevents the grandparents from seeing their grandchildren then the grandparents can apply under their own right to have time with their grandchildren.
The Court looks at the potential benefit to the grandchildren having a meaningful relationship and continuing relationship with the grandparents. The Court would look at the nature of the relationship of the grandparents with their grandchildren.
The welfare of the children is of course, as in all relationships, the paramount consideration to be given by the Court if an application is made. The Court would look at the likely effect on the grandchildren of a continuing relationship with their grandparents. The Court would look at the practical difficulties and expenses relating to the grandchildren spending time and communicating with their grandparents. If there are substantial impediments to this then the Courts would not allow that relationship to continue.
Time with your grandchild
Normally the time spent by the grandparents with their grandchildren would be a time that is not inconvenient to the children and to the children’s parents. The Courts would also look at the disruption to any of the activities of the children including sporting, educational and extracurricular activities to determine if the time spent with the grandparents is feasible.
The wishes of the children especially the wishes of teenage children will be taken into account.
The grandparents have a right to apply for the parenting of the grandchildren where the parents of such children are unsuitable for medical or other reasons to care for them. The Courts can make orders for the grandparents to take on the parenting role of the children in such circumstances.
Other significant family members do not have the same rights as grandparents in seeking time with their nieces, nephews and other children of the family. Again if the significant family members have had a large involvement in the upbringing of the children and if the parents, grandparents or other family members are not suitable to parent the children where the children’s own parents are incapable of doing so then those family members may apply to the Court for the parenting of the children. Again the welfare of the children is paramount.