Grandparents’ Rights Under Law

May 19, 2011

In a marriage breakdown it is often difficult for grandparents as their relationship with their grandchildren can be easily overlooked. As a grandparent of a child affected by separation you can play an important role in helping your grandchild during this time. However, there is no automatic right under State or Federal Law for grandparents to continue to have contact with their grandchildren. In a marriage breakdown however grandparents can seek, pursuant to the Family Law Act, to apply for a Parenting Order.

A Parenting Order is an Order of the Court made in relation to one or more of a variety of issues including the following:

(a)   The person or persons with whome a child is to live;

(b)   The time a child is to spend with another person or other persons;

(c)   The allocation of parental responsibility for a child;

(d)   If two or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child – the form of consultations those persons are to have with one another about decisions to be made in the exercise of that responsibility;

(e)   The communication a child is to have with another person or other persons;

(f)     Maintenance of a child;

(g)   The steps to be taken before an application is made to a court for a variation of the Order to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of:

i.      A child to whom the order relates; or

ii.      The parties to the proceedings in which the order is made;

(h)   The process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the Order;

(i)    Any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

When determining what Orders to make the paramount consideration for the Court is the best interests of the child.

If you or someone you know is a relative of a child affected by separation and they would like to continue to be part of the child’s life, you can contact Hutchinson Legal for advice.

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