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Grandparents Rights to see their Grandchildren

What is a Grandparent’s ability to see or spend time with their Grandchild? 

The extended family and particularly Grandparents, are an important part of a Child’s family and can play an important role in their upbringing.

Sometimes when parents separate or divorce, grandparents can be cut out of their grandchildren’s lives or it can be made much for difficult for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren.

After a family unit breaks down and separates, a common arrangement is that Grandparents only see their Grandchildren when the grandchildren are spending time with the parent that is the son or daughter of the Grandparents.

Grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their Grandchildren but the Child has a right to continue spend time with their Grandparent with whom they are close.

 



 

Since the child cannot enforce that right, if the child’s parents are not facilitating a grandparent spending time with their grandchild, it will be up to the grandparent to take action to do so.

The Family Law Act 1975 says that “children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development” (such as a Grandparent or other relative).

Given that quite often, a Grandparent is someone concerned with the care, welfare or development of the Child, Grandparents can apply to the Court for orders that:

  • they have communication with their Grandchild, by skype, facetime, email, telephone, letter, providing a gift etc;
  • for their Grandchild to physically spend time with them – eg. physical time in a visit during the day, overnight time, a weekend, during school holidays etc.

If agreement can be reached about a grandparent spending time with their grandchild, it can be put into a parenting plan the parents are making. Find out more in the information sheet Putting Grandparents time with Grandchildren in Parenting Plans.

If a Grandparent cannot reach agreement with a parent about them spending time with their grandchild they will need to go to Court to get an Order enabling them to do so.

A grandparent or both grandparents must actually be a named party to the proceedings in Court, if a grandparent wants a specific Order is sought about them spending time with the Child.

As is the case for most proceedings seeking an order in child to spending time with a child, grandparents will need to attempt attending mediation with the parents before they can issue proceedings in Court. For more information about grandparents and mediation, see the information sheet Grandparents attending Family Dispute Resolution (Mediation) before going to Court.

For more information about a grandparent making an application to the Court to spend time with their grandchild, see our information sheet How does a Grandparent apply to the Court for a Court Order to see their Grandchild.

Grandparents time with Grandchildren: More Information

We also have the following information sheets on the topic of Grandparents spending time with their Grandchildren, Grandparents rights and similar issues facing Grandparents:

 

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