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What are grandparent’s rights?

In Family Law, many grandparents have a close, caring and loving relationship with their grandchildren. Many perform daycare duties for the working parents.

In the case of matrimonial breakdown, it is not uncommon for one of the parties to try to exclude the grandparents and try to stop the grandparents from having the previous meaningful relationship that the grandparents had with the children.

Section 60CC of the Family Law Act provides how a court determines what is in a child’s best interests. In 2006, Subsection (d) was amended to provide “the likely effect of any change in the child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from”:

(i)                  Either of his or her parents;

(ii)                Or any other child or other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child) with whom he or she has been living

And Subsection (f) provided “the capacity of”;

(i)                  Each of the child’s parents;

(ii)                And any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child); to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs.

The position of grandparents is thus recognised in the statute.

In deciding whether it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with the grandparents, the court will look at the situation as it was prior to the matrimonial difficulties. That is, what was the interaction between the grandparents and the children. If it was significant, then it is likely that a court would continue that regime. However, where the parents do not agree with the grandparents spending time and particularly where little time was spent prior to the matrimonial difficulties, the court will be likely to order no time or limited time with the grandparents. One of the reasons for this, is if there is conflict between the parents and the grandparents that is likely to have an effect on the child.

Section 65C (ba) allows a grandparent of a child to apply for a Parenting Order.

Contact Rita Derek of this firm for further advice.

Posted in: Derek Legal Blog at 20 June 18

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