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Grandparents' rights

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448

Kerry White

If you are a grandparent who has been affected by a family breakdown you can apply to the Court to seek parenting orders in relation to your grandchildren.

Children have a right to spend time and communicate on a regular basis with both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development. This includes grandparents as well as other relatives.

The two most common types of applications are:

  • An application to spend time and communicate with the grandchildren. These applications are usually made where the parents are refusing any meaningful relationship between the children and the grandparents. The type of contact likely to be granted by the Court will depend on the individual circumstances of the case, however it is usually less time than is ordered in favour of a parent.
  • Applications to obtain parental responsibility for the children and orders for the children to live with you. These applications are usually made where both parents are unwilling, unable or lack the capacity to care for the children (for example, as a result of addiction problems or family violence).

In deciding parenting arrangements, the Court must regard the best interests of the children as the paramount consideration. In determining what is in the best interests of the children, the Court must examine, weigh, apply and make findings as to various considerations, including the benefit of the children having a meaningful relationship with both parents and the need to need to protect the children from harm and/or family violence.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, prior to making any application for parenting orders, parties must attempt mediation and must consider entering into a parenting plan.

Armstrong Legal recently acted for a grandmother and second cousin of a child where both of the child's parents had been in and out of jail since the birth of the child and there was a history of family violence, neglect and addiction. The Court found that it was in the best interests of the child for the grandmother and second cousin to have sole parental responsibility for the child and for the child to live with them and spend supervised time only with the child's parents. This case shows that in appropriate cases grandparents and other significant people in the children's life can obtain the parenting orders necessary to protect children from harm: see Pohan and Anor & Kueffer and Anor [2009] FamCA 1040.

where to next?

Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448

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