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Grandparents & Grandchildren contact lobby

The 2006 reforms to the Family Law Act 1975 require decisions to be made in the 'best interests of the child'. By recognising the important role grandparents (and other relatives) play in children's lives, the reforms reflect Article 8 of the Convention,

In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 2006 reforms to the Family Law Act 1975 require decisions to be made in the 'best interests of the child'.  By recognising the important role grandparents (and other relatives) play in children's lives, the reforms reflect Article 8 of the Convention, in which 'family relations' are considered essential to a child's identity.  However, the 2006 reforms DO NOT consider the rights and best interests of ALL Australian children.  When determining whether a child can have access to his/her grandparent/s, courts consider the nature of the pre-existing relationship between the child and his/her grandparent/s and the likely effect on the child of separation from those grandparent/s.  THIS DISCRIMINATES against children whose parents have denied them from ever knowing or having contact with their grandparents.

It is essential therefore, to ensure that NO child is discriminated against and that the Family Law legislation be CHANGED to:

1.  Specifically recognise the rights and best interests of ALL Australian children to know and have contact with their grandparents, whether they have had a pre-existing relationship or not, unless there is evidence of danger to the child.

2.  Reduce the financial burden on grandparents who are denied contact with their grandchildren and wish to apply for access.

3.  Improve the professional training of lawyers, judges, mediators and counsellors regarding the rights of, and benefits to, children knowing and having contact with their grandparents (and other relatives).



If anyone is in a situation where they are denied contact with their grandchildren please contact the Grandparents & Grandchildren Lobby Group at grandparentslobby@gmail.com or PO Box 1577, WOLLONGONG. NSW 2500 to share your experience, or if you are not in this situation but agree that it is every child's right to know and have contact with their grandparents and extended families we would greatly appreciate you joining us in our campaign.  

We have a petition we are circulating for signatures which was launched in September 2008 and we have had a phenomenal response from all over the Country, from people young and old.

We have over 5,000 signatures.  Upon obtaining 10,000 signatures we will present the petition to the Federal Government in Canberra to raise awareness of this very important issue.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  M K Gandhi

Post A copy of the Petition

If a copy of the Petition was posted here, anybody interested in collecting names and signatures could download and print the petition and forward any signatures collected

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!

Petition of GRANDPARENTS & GRANDCHILDREN CONTACT LOBBY

If anyone would like to collect signatures, please feel free to download the Petition.

The Petition must remain exactly as it is, NO CHANGES TO THE FORM, and signatures must be ink only.

Only the original copy with name address and signature in ink will be accepted by Parliament.

People cannot sign online, nor can they do it by email or fax.  Signatures cannot be on blank sheets, or on the back of the Petition.

Please mail the completed Petition Forms with the original signatures etc. to Grandparents & Grandchildren Contact Lobby PO Box 1577, Wollongong. NSW 2500.



Attachment

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  M K Gandhi

Petition Comments

Relationships with most Grandparents are in the best interests of Grandchildren.  Relationship with some Grandparents is not.

Point 1 would force relationships that were not in the best interests of some Grandchildren.

Point 2 would need to be balanced with the need to reduce the financial burden on parents who are being forced to provide access with Grandparents where relationships are not in the best interests of the Grandchildren.

Point 3 would to be balanced against the need for training regarding the harm that some Grandparents can cause.

In short, focus on the best interests of children, help both sides, do not bias the legislation either way.
DevotedDad said
Relationships with most Grandparents are in the best interests of Grandchildren.  Relationship with some Grandparents is not.

Point 1 would force relationships that were not in the best interests of some Grandchildren.

Point 2 would need to be balanced with the need to reduce the financial burden on parents who are being forced to provide access with Grandparents where relationships are not in the best interests of the Grandchildren.

Point 3 would to be balanced against the need for training regarding the harm that some Grandparents can cause.

In short, focus on the best interests of children, help both sides, do not bias the legislation either way.
 
Whilst I agree that no child should be forced to have any relationship with a grandparent (or other relative) if it would not be in the best interests of the child, I believe all of your point responses have already been covered in point 1 below…

Calista said
 1.  Specifically recognise the rights and best interests of ALL Australian children to know and have contact with their grandparents, whether they have had a pre-existing relationship or not, unless there is evidence of danger to the child.
I further add that just as there are no doubt many grandparents who could do more harm than good to a child if a relationship was "forced" so to are there many parents who inflict their own harm on a child by denying a relationship between grandparent and grandchild simply due to their own personal grudges against that grandparent.

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Interesting how a topic that is covered by the law, I insert below, needs to be bolstered in some way because judges refuse to do their duty to this law that amounts, to me, to be a dereliction of duty by those judges who are then remunerated for their derelictions.
FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 60B
Objects of Part and principles underlying it
(1)  The objects of this Part are to ensure that the best interests of children are met by:

(2)  The principles underlying these objects are that (except when it is or would be contrary to a child's best interests):
   (b)  children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development (such as grandparents and other relatives); and
That is, it is the judges who do not make an Order that entitles a Grandparent to spend time with Grandchildren, pursuant to the consideration created by this law, which needs to be addressed by the lack of judicial accountability the Senate have recommended needs addressing by their Inquiry finding published 1 Dec 2009.

I put it, it is their lacking duty of care to "the Best Interests of Child" to know all their family members (UNCRC article 8 and others) and to the above stated law and others. By not making Orders/prevision that ensures Grandparents have the right to spend time of some kind (telephone or face to face) with the Grandchildren that is the dereliction to judicial duty that needs to be put to the AG for enforcement.

Decisions like that published on this site;
http://flwg.com.au/new…ter=&keep_session=4617140, in my view, supports it is judicial dereliction to their duty of considering what is in "the Best Interests of Child" and "the protection of the child" that is the issues needing to be addressed.

If this means judges need to cause additional evidence to be presented due to the issues have not been properly canvassed by 1 or either party then the judge has the ability, right and obligation (due to their duty) to put that to all the parties.

To me, if this  accountability issue of dereliction to duty was addressed, then issues like the matter of "Family law must be fair / Fury at ruling in custody battle" reported, and those other like matters that speckle the judgments published.
The Grandparents rights to spend time with their Grandchildren would become issues of the past.

Furthermore, would cause less adversarial hearings, less mothers wishes to dominate as demonstrated by "Family law must be fair / Fury at ruling in custody battle" reported, and children to live to in an environment where pursuant to the Act s60B(1)(b)  [which is] protecting children from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.  

Who is it, who more often than not, causes a Grandparent (often the fathers) to be ostracized for the children's lives?

I have found thelives with parent (more often the mother) is the 1 who refuses the children time with the other parties, Parents, the Grandparents.
Calista said
1. Specifically recognise the rights and best interests of ALL Australian children to know and have contact with their grandparents, whether they have had a pre-existing relationship or not, unless there is evidence of danger to the child.

"whether they have had a pre-existing relationship or not, unless there is evidence of danger to the child".

This is the type of statement from grandparents that demand their rights as grandparents without recognizing BIC or the rights of their own children who for whatever reason choose not to foster a Grandchild/Grandparent relationship.

The "unless is evidence of danger to the child" is just plain rhetoric and ignores some of the major reasons a Court may not allow contact. These include:
Cause great distress to one or both of the parents.
The incidents that provoked the alienation between parent and grandparent could be carried over to the Grandchildren
There is no existing relationship.

Given these choices the Courts will often interpret BIC as meaning happy and not distressed parents.

I have seen both sides of the equation, from parents vehemently opposed to contact, to Grandparents denied reasonable contact. The most tragic cases are those of grandparents that have had previous reasonable contact, which for whatever reason is now denied. Unfortunately, many Grandparents go into Court about their rights without understanding BIC and how this may be applied to their own children's peace of mind.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
I admit I have no idea of the information the give to grandparents, their perceived rights, the Court outcomes or the reasonableness of some of the grandparents who go to Court (In fact…lets just say I don't know much at all!! haha) but I would have assumed  that the word "danger" in any instance would have to include all risk (and associated risk) and as such would immediately override "pre existing relationship or not" if it were not in the best interests of the child due to that danger. 

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Perhaps search through www.austlii.ed.au 

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
I started to look at the Judgements and most tended to lean towards where grandparents have "custody" for some reason or another, then I got sidetracked after finding one Judgement made by Chief Justice Bryant that confused me i.e. an Order that the mother, father and both paternal grandparents all share responsibility for a 5 year old child. 

It did say the child had lived with the paternal grandparents for almost 2 years when neither parent could care for him and gave a history about the parents that I guess could cause the need for the child to go back into the grandparents care again at a latter date but I still don't get it!! Especially because it was also Ordered that the child would live with the mother and so I would have assumed that if responsibility would have been awarded to anyone it would have either been shared only amongst the child's parents or if this was not in BIC given to just the mother.  Anyway I'm going to have to ponder this one for a while so I can make some sense of it…at least in my mind.

 

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
CrazyWorld said
I started to look at the Judgements and most tended to lean towards where grandparents have "custody" for some reason or another, then I got sidetracked after finding one Judgement made by Chief Justice Bryant that confused me i.e. an Order that the mother, father and both paternal grandparents all share responsibility for a 5 year old child.

It did say the child had lived with the paternal grandparents for almost 2 years when neither parent could care for him and gave a history about the parents that I guess could cause the need for the child to go back into the grandparents care again at a latter date…….

There a few of these cases where the Grandparents have been the primary carers and the parents then seek to 'reclaim' their children (there are a few forum posts on this topic) This is a different case dynamic to Grandparents that have either had none or limited contact.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
 This is an interesting subject due to, as Agog has said "This is a different case dynamic to Grandparents that have either had none or limited contact."

My parents have 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, (just turned 1 and the other 2 yrs old) from 3 of us children.

The eldest grandchild was taken out of reach from my brother and my parents by his ex's mother who decided she was the only person to be a good enough parent for my brothers first child, hence they got divorced and ex moved in with grandparent who wanted to be a parent again.

My sister and her husband, with 5 children, elected our parents (the Graqndparents) to be the lives with parents for htheir eldest for 2 full years and only give the Grandparents a break on term school holidays and half of the Christmas holidays. Every Christmas, 2 of the other 4 children spent at least half of each alternating Christmas holiday with our parents (the Grandparents).

While my ex elected to end a conversation between our son (then about 8 yrs old) and the Grandmother mid sentence, in 2003, as soon as she realised it was my mother he was talking to and not her mother. Unbeknown to my ex and her mother, our son talked to his Grandmother and Grandfather for about half an hour this Christmas for the first time since then. The sh*t will probable hit the fan when they find out but it has happened.

My primary point is, there are so many different Grandparent relationship dynamics but the main 1 is most Grandparents have been parents and are not looking to be full time or large spend time with parents.

Most are there to help and support, not take over, and I have found only step up to the plate if requested.

They like and need their spare time for their own things and the 1's that are within the label "Grandparents from hell" are more often those who made life hell for their own child and are wishing to make up for what they did, some don't and run when their offer is accepted, ask Gibbs.

That's not to say the rejected Grandparent is the "Grandparent from hell", but the Grandparent of the parent of the child who is doing the rejection, is the "Grandparent from hell".

Case in hand is my ex's mother and step father who ostracized my ex's father and his family from her life, hence she has done the same to me and our children.

Just like my brothers ex (does not know who her father is) did to him and our family. My brothers child and Great Grandchild now lives just done the road from he, his wife, other 2 children and the Grandparents, who both use them for babysitting, dinner, lunch and the like visits often.

Agog said
The "unless is evidence of danger to the child" is just plain rhetoric and ignores some of the major reasons a Court may not allow contact.
These include: Cause great distress to one or both of the parents. …
              
Funny you should bring this to the fore, it is the excuse judges often use in causing a mothers wishes to prevail is it not?

That is; the mother will be highly distressed if the father has any time with the child.

So even though the MOTHER has been proven as ABUSIVE (case reported in the news on this site,) like matters of the past where father denied time with the child because of mothers proven FALSE CLAIMS of father abusing child. Then there are others where the mother was so abusive nether parent could spend time with the child because the child should live with the father. Don't forget the matter of the mother who lived in Perth and the Grandparents lived in Tasmania, a judge of the Family Court Melbourne took the newspapers to task over publishing that 1.

NO, the mothers wishes don't prevail, only the happiness of a mother which can only be achieved by the mothers wishes being granted in spit of the evidence. Hence Grandparents are treated the same as a father because, from what I have seen, it is the mother who decides who the children can see and who they cannot see.

To bring another dynamic, have a look at;
the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) s7. Meaning of emotional or psychological abuse  
Examples-   preventing a person from making or keeping connections with the person's family, friends or culture, including cultural or spiritual ceremonies or practices, or preventing the person from expressing the person's cultural identity;

Does this not throw a curve ball at those judges who admit a parent or Grandparent who is not a threat to the welfare or safety, and in fact would be good for the child to know is prevented from knowing the child or spending any real time with the child?

Does this mean those judges are in fact acting as an agent for the mother and committing Family Violence?  

THEN, the judge turns on that evidence and finding, father, or Grandparent, to, without just cause, OTHER THAN A MOTHERS WISHES and possible happiness (effect on her parenting style) prevent or diminish the father, or Grandparents spend time or lives with time.

Should this law be added to the Family Law Act, child abuse section, so judges stop the offensive behaviour of causing the mothers POSSIBLE happiness to prevail? So as not to affect her parenting style, therefore, probably not allow the child to achieve the maximum in life they can.    

justin  
I'm not sure how well the analogy with father/mother holds.  If the grandparents have a history of causing distress to happily married parents, which would reasonably cascade to their interactions with their children and potentially even the longevity of the parent's marriage, surely it is not BIC to force orders, even though there is no real danger to the chidren.  Particularly if there has been little or no previous contact between grandparents and children…
This thread has been somewhat hijacked by Justin trying to divert it to the Mothers wishes in more conventional cases.

In Grandparent cases BIC still applies, The Court has to have a strong BIC argument in favour of the contact with the Grandparents.

There are now 3 topics running with the same issue. I am closing down 2 of them.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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