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GRANDPARENTS’ RIGHTS LAWYER

Australian Family Law Gives Grandparents Legal Rights in Certain Circumstances

Grandparents’ rights lawyer, we’ve witnessed the pain of grandparents who’ve been wrongly denied access to their grandchildren. After a divorce or the death of a spouse, the custodial parent may put obstacles between the grandparents and the children, either out of bitterness or a good-faith belief that the grandparents stir emotions that are damaging to the children. Fortunately, Australia has recognised the importance of the relationship between children and their grandparents and has enacted laws supporting grandparents’ rights to time with grandchildren. Chatswood Family Lawyers assists grandparents who want to maintain a loving relationship with their grandchildren. However, we recognise that parents often have sound reasons for limiting access to their children, so we also represent them in defending their prerogatives.

UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES DOES A GRANDPARENT HAVE RIGHTS TO SPEND TIME WITH THE CHILDREN?

A parent’s denial of grandparent’s time with the children must be unreasonable for a court to consider allowing time. These circumstances may also merit court intervention:

  • If the child’s other parent is deceased or missing or the children live with one parent and spend no time with the other or the grandparents are not given any time with the grandchildren

In Australian family law, the Family Law Act focuses on the rights of children to know and be cared for by both parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development, such as grandparents and other relatives. It applies across Australia. The Family Law Act acknowledges the importance of children having a relationship with their grandparents. However it is important to be aware that this does not mean that grandparents (or indeed parents) have an automatic right to have contact with the children. The Family Law Act makes it clear that the ‘best interests of the child’ are the main considerations when it comes to decisions about parenting.

  • If the parents are divorced or legally separated, or a marital dissolution is pending

Courts will grant grandparent time with their grandchildren if it is in the ‘best interests of the child’ and usually if visits do not interfere with the non-custodial parent’s time with the child.

  • If the child is born out of wedlock and the parents are not living together

Australian law favours grandparents time with children for maternal and paternal grandparents if paternity has been established in a court.

WHAT FACTORS DOES THE COURT CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING CHILDREN’S TIME WITH GRANDPARENTS?

The court looks at several aspects when determining whether to enforce a grandparent’s right to time with their grandchildren over the objection of a custodial parent. Common considerations include:

  • The child’s preference, if the child is mature enough
  • The child’s mental and physical health
  • The grandparent’s mental and physical health
  • The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • The amount of time requested by the grandparent
  • The potential adverse effect on the child’s customary activities
  • Any fact that establishes that the loss of the grandparent relationship is likely to harm the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health

In addition, the court takes into consideration the reasonableness of the objection of the parent. Since this is highly subjective, you need an experienced Family Lawyer who can present your case in a professional and compelling manner to prevail in court.

CONTACT OUR FAMILY LAW OFFICE FOR GRANDPARENTS’ RIGHTS REPRESENTATION

Chatswood Family Lawyers represents grandparents and parents in disputes over parental rights throughout the North Shore, Greater Sydney and its environs. We handle these highly emotional cases with sensitivity and professionalism. To schedule a consultation, contact us online, by email at enquiries@chatswoodfamilylawyers.com.au or by phone at (02) 9412 4500.