Grandparents rights to their grandchildren4-March-2011 Family Law By Simone Green
Many grandparents who have been actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren are affected when their children divorce or separate. A restriction on the time spent with their grandchildren, or a refusal to allow access to their grandchildren due to a relationship breakdown between the parents of the children, can be quite a traumatic experience for both themselves and their grandchildren.
Under such circumstances, what visitation rights do grandparents have to see their grandchildren?
All grandparents will be pleased to know that the principle guiding the Family Law Act of 1975, remains as what is in the best interest of the child”. The Family Law Act recognises the importance of the relationships that each child has with their extended family, particular grandparents, and the Court takes these relationships in account when determining ‘what is in the best interest of the child.’ This includes the important issue of grandparents’ visitation rights to their grandchildren.
What can grandparents do if the communication between themselves and the parents of their grandchildren has broken down?
- Contact your nearest Family Relationship Centre or another family Counseling organisation with a view to mediating an arrangement regarding visitation rights or the amount of time you are able to spend with your grandchild.
- If this is unsuccessful, then the grandparents must ask the Mediator to issue a Certificate under Section 60I of the Family Law Act [a certificate that attests to the fact that you’ve attempted to achieve a family dispute resolution]. The grandparents then must seek legal advice to assist them with the completion of an application form for the Court.
This is good news for grandparents concerned about visitation rights.