Rights For Grandparents
Grandparents rights to see their grandchildren in family law
Can grandparents apply for Court Orders to spend time with their grandchildren?
Grandparents can make an application under the Family Law Act 1975 for orders to spend time with and communicate with their grandchildren.
Grandparents do not have an automatic right to spend time with their grandchildren, rather it is the children who, under the Family Law Act 1975 have the right to know and spend time with both parents and other significant people in their lives, including grandparents.
In limited circumstances where both parents of the children are unable to care for the children, grandparents may need to apply for extensive parenting orders to be able to make important decision for the children or for the children to live with them.
Before applying to the Court for orders, there are a number of options available to grandparents to attempt to secure arrangements to spend time with their grandchildren including:
- Negotiation. Depending on the circumstances of the case, relationship between the parties, and issues this can be written or verbal, with or without solicitors present.
- Mediation. This is a process where an impartial third party mediator will assist the parties to facilitate a negotiation. For parenting matters this process is called Family Dispute resolution. Grandparents must invite the parents of the children to Family Dispute Resolution and attempt to reach agreement before making any application with the Court. Click here to read our page on Mediation.
- Collaboration. Click here to read our page on Collaborative Law.
While going to Court is always a last resort, it is an option available to grandparents to secure orders to enable them to spend time with their grandchildren, if the parents refuse.
This process will require the grandparents to file an Initiating Application, Affidavit and Notice of Risk (even if there is no risk). The case will then be heard by the Court, at which time the Court will make interim orders. If the matter cannot be resolved on a final basis, the matter will proceed to trial. The vast majority of matters will settle before a trial.