Some grandparents only see their grandchildren at crowded school events or from the sideline at sporting occasions. In Australia, grandparents have legal rights to approach Courts for Orders that they be allowed to spend time with their grandchildren.
If you have concerns about the welfare of your grandchildren you may want to thing about making an application to the Court to care for them. You can also discuss this with Family and Community Services.
When it comes to the law, grandparents do have some rights. While the law’s focus is on the best interests of the child, that includes a child’s right to know and have contact with both parents and others seen as significant for their care and development, including grandparents. There is no automatic right and if the parents do not agree then the only way may be to make an application to the Court.
If you are concerned about your future contact with your grandchildren, you can ask to be included in such plans if they are being drawn up. If you can’t agree with separating parents about your future contact with the children, you can apply to the court for parenting orders yourself.
Although you have a right to apply for parenting orders, this does not mean the courts will necessarily decide in your favour.
The law requires that families first attend family dispute resolution or mediation, before going to court. An independent person trained in helping families discuss their differences will try to help everyone come to an agreement. You will need a certificate from an accredited dispute resolution practitioner to show you’ve attempted mediation before you can take court action.
If mediation fails, you will need legal advice before going to court. You need legal advice on what your chances are to spend time with or communicate with the kids whilst know that the court will always decide on what is in the child’s best interests.
If you would like to know where you stand, call Ruth Single, Specialist Family Lawyer on 1800 087 934.