Grandparents rights to have contact with grandchildren?
The Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”) makes provision for a parenting order in relation to the child to be made in favour of a parent of the child or “some other person”.
The Act is specific with respect to who can apply for a parenting order in relation to a child:
- Either or both of the child’s parents; or
- The child; or
- A grandparent of the child; or
- Any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.
If a Grandparent (or other person) wishes to make an application to t
he Court for an order with respect to a child they must follow the same procedures as a parent applying for an order.
They must first attend mediation and obtain a Section 60I Certificate from the mediator. This will allow the Grandparents (or some other person) to file their initiating proceeding with the Court. There are exceptions to obtaining a Certificate such as family violence or urgency and this is assessed on a case by case basis.
When making an application to the Court, Grandparents (or some other person), are required to join both parents of the children to the proceedings regardless of whether they are aware of the whereabouts of the parents.
If proceedings are already on foot between the parents, Grandparent (or some other person) are able to make an application to the Court seeking leave to be joined to the proceeding and seeking orders for a child to spend time with them.
Last week we were successful in obtaining leave to join our client (a Grandparent) to proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court which were already on foot between parents where the Mother was seeking a sole parental responsibility order and no time with the father. Our client was jointed to the proceedings and an order made for the children to commence spending time with that Grandparent.
If you are a Grandparent ( or some other person) who has been unable to spend time with a child and wish to discuss your matter please do not hesitate to contact Kate Walker, Accredited Specialist Family Lawyer to find out where you stand.