When there is a relationship breakdown – what does that mean for the grandparents? When grandparents hear that their child’s relationship is on rocky territory, it is scary as to what might happen.
Unfortunately, there is nothing specifically in the Family Law Act regarding grandparents’ rights; however – don’t be alarmed! There is nothing in the Family Law Act about a parent’s rights either. It is all about the children.
Grandparents can have standing to make applications to the court if they need to because children have the right to spend time and communicate with all people who are significant in their lives, including grandparents and any other relatives.
Orders for children to live with a grandparent might be trickier but might be necessary! Think for example where the parent(s) don’t have the capacity to care for the child and the Court is satisfied that the parent cannot meet the child’s needs. In those circumstances a “live with Grandparent” Order might be required.
This is often the outcome of matters where parents have substance abuse addiction and unable to care for a child, where a parent has displayed neglect or lack capacity in some way to care for the child. Sometimes there are also matters where the grandparent has been the significant or primary carer, and perhaps the court needs to make orders for the child to spend time with the grandparent – upon the parents themselves coming back to resume time with the child. Everything is determined on individual merit, as all matters are.
It is vital that grandparents don’t lose faith or give up immediately and they obtain some legal advice to know whether and what case they have. Grandparents often play a significant role in children’s lives, which should continue to flourish no matter their parents’ situation.
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