Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Grandparents

rights

I have a 3 year old great grandson and a 1 year old grandson. Both children have the same mother.

I get to see my grandson every week, but my greatgrandson I have not seen for 9 months. This child is being hidden from my side of the family.

My grandson has attempted to take legal action to see this child but the mother just returns all mail stating not at this address.

Can any one advise if greatgrandparents have any rights to being in this child's life?
Well this certainly sounds interesting and complex - and lacking in any detail.

A generic answer is that 'Grandparents' are specifically mentioned in the Family Law Act. There is no reason why Great Grandparents should be excluded under 'the child rights to know' - in fact a Court might 'like' the extended chain of Family.

Obviously if there is no mutual agreement then an FRC is the first port of call and if no solution - then an application to the Courts.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
grannie said
Can any one advise if greatgrandparents have any rights to being in this child's life?
Hi, Yes grandparents do have rights, but unfortunately the grandparents have to apply to the court for the orders.

Regards
Barry Williams LFAA

Grandparents

Dear Grannie

Grandparents do have rights under the Family Law Act to have access to their grandchildren.

May I suggest that you go to Family Law Reform Association NSW website and click on the icon for GRANDPARENTS.

All the information you will need on what avenues are available to you will be listed, i.e. starting with the Family Relationship Centres and then if that fails, in the Grandparents area click on the "Family Law for Grandparents" link.

The link to the Law and Justice Foundation website will explain how to go about applying to the Federal Magistrates Court.

It is important to remember that the court views access to grandparents from the child/children's perspective, i.e. that they have a right to an ongoing relationship with their grandparents and extended family members, rather than the other way round.

Coral Slattery
Secretary
Family Law Reform Association NSW Inc.
It is important to remember that the court views access to grandparents from the child/children's perspective, i.e. that they have a right to an ongoing relationship with their grandparents and extended family members, rather than the other way round.

Well said Coral, and important to remember Grannie. Make sure you are in this for your grandchild's benefit and not to meddle with the parents of the grandchild.

In my situation the GPs cause an awful lot of grief at times.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Hey everybody, is it my pedantic legal brain but the question was:
grannie said
Can any one advise if greatgrandparents have any rights to being in this child's life?

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Ok, I'll replace the jaundiced eye with my normal one.

Yes, grandparents do have a place in children's lives and sometimes do a wonderful job raising grandchildren. There are laws in place that can achieve access if you are being denied.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
My ex won't let my father see our son in NZ.

But hypocrytically tells me I must support our son's relationship with his parents - it's in our parenting plan - what the?!!

An update

Thanks every one, I have applied to the family court, but it now has been over ridden by DOCS.

I have posted in the DOCS section of forums.
Sheila said
My ex won't let my father see our son in NZ.

But hypocrytically tells me I must support our son's relationship with his parents - it's in our parenting plan - what the?!!
Hi Sheila.

What happened to the trip taking the EX with you? Did it not work out as planned?

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Agog said
Hey everybody, is it my pedantic legal brain but the question was:
grannie said
Can any one advise if greatgrandparents have any rights to being in this child's life?
This is in fact a good question. The Family Law Act talks about "Grand Parents" not "Great Grand Parents" and makes special provisions for these wonderful family members. But before you get somewhat despondent here there is also mention of ";Extended Family"; members. This clearly targets close family relationships and "Great Grandparents" would most certainly qualify. As other more learned colleagues than I have commented already an application in the Federal magistrates court will be required. To do this you would still need to commence pre action procedures and that means a call into the nearest Family relationship Center or at least a call to their hot line. Mediation may well resolve the issues. If the other party is aware you intend to go through to a Federal Magistrates hearing to get contact I wonder what the approach might be.

I would be extremely surprised if a FMC Judicial officer would have any hesitation in making some sort of appropriate order.

The other thing that I wondered about is that you say "My ex won't let my father see our son in NZ." Is your son in NZ or your father in NZ. I have found that the courts here in NSW deem New Zealand to be something like a state of Australia and as the relationship between countries is so strong the possibility of a parent not returning a child is almost negligible. When you are on holiday why can't you take the child wherever you like anyway and meet the Great Grand parents (subject to a passport which you could get)?

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
See my earlier post on this.

'If' the child is old enough to understand the 'complexity' of great grandparent then a Court could reasonably allow this on one option - Extended Family - and possibly a second option 'Significant Adult'. However with a young child the issue may be more of the adult wishing to see the child rather than the other way round.

Court rulings are still made on BIC rather than the interests of an adult


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
The family court matter has been put on hold as the children are presently in the care of Docs. They are in foster care, whilst a investigation of abuse is investigated.

Because of cross border issues the children are to stay with foster care until a court hearing on 24.4.08.

I am surprised that in abuse claims a party has to prove their innocence not the other way around.

I can apply to DOCS for consideration of a kinship application but it will be refused because of my age.So once again Dads and families miss out.

Secretary SPCA: I have added the link here to the topic relating to this that is currently in the Community Services forum Click here to view the related topic
It's an interesting topic - grandparents.

One of the first things my parents wanted to do when I divorced was - become involved with the children more.  The desire to help and assist I think particularly as the children were young and I suppose they had established their parenting skills.

Of course though parents have to learn somehow to be parents.

I have formed the view that parents get access to grandchildren via THOSE parents - in other words - it's up to the parents of the children to decide who they see and how often. This means that if a parent only gets 30% access then they get to decide how much of their 30% can go to visits to grandparents. In reality we all do those decisions anyway.

I think it becomes more of a dilemma where the interested grandparent is the nearest interested relative - because their son or daughter (the parent) is dead or disabled. This would represent a very small number of cases.

The idea however that a grandparent can obtain access - over and above what their son or daughter already has OR as an equal rights to access I totally disagree with and can't see on what basis they would do that. The only examples I could imagine is :

1) Grandparents don't get on with own son or daughter and want to get around that to get access to children

2) Grandparents what access to their grandchildren over and above what their own son or daughter gets (when not dead or disabled)

It seems to me that in the first instance - I don't think grandparents should be allowed access. (It doesn't happen in intact families).

In the second example it seems a bit sad but it their own son or daughter did not seek or get granted access to their own children (and hence so the grandparents could see them) - This seems more like a substituted parental model - and if anything would antogonise the custodial parent and their relationship with the children - for the benefit of the grandparent. Either way it promotes court action and dispute (unless the access is freely given then its going to be traumatic).

So I am yet to be convinced on that part of the legislation - I don't think the intent is right.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I think that part of the legislation was brought in to cater for very young mum's who's boyfriend does not want to parent, and the young mum is not caring well for the child.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Many Grandparents become very hands on and involved from the moment the grandchildren arrive. This is both a personal and cultural issue.

A great many Grandparents 'expect' to be involved with the upbringing of their grandchildren and this continuity of 'belonging to and being part of' and 'relating to other generations' has always received positive reports throughout many countries. It is only because of 'mostly' geographic or economic reasons that this has started to break down.

It is true that in some intact families severe conflict can exist between grandparents and parents and there have been cases of grandparents going to Court to obtain contact.

With separated couples who mostly provide the grandparent contact - a large issue is where geographic distance precludes regular contact with grandparents and the other party blocks attempts at providing some contact.

The issue regarding DOCS and the Family Courts is a little more straight forward where grandparents seek 'lives with' status. This can be that one or both the parents are unsuitable for a number of reasons. In these cases the Courts tend to assess the merits of the age of the children and of the grandparents age abilities to provide care.

Austlii is littered with cases of grandparents seeking 'lives with' status and in many cases the Courts treat them like a second set of parents who have already proved their parenting skills and because of a genetic relationship do have a best interest of the children (BIC) claim.

If anything there appears to be a strong intent in the legislation and in Court outcomes to regard Grandparents as above, 'a second set of parents'

Last years very publicised long running and appealed case gives an insight into the Courts attitude to this. The grandchild was living in Tasmania with the Grandparents and Father. The Father has various (non violent) issues which means he cannot provide proper care. Initially the Court allowed the child to go and live with the Mother in WA. (the mother was a stripper with a partner who had convictions for the possession of child pornography).

The case was overturned on the basis that the child would not be better off with the natural Mother and the Father could not provide 'proper' care but that the Grandparents could provide the level of care and development to meet the BIC.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets