Grandparents and parenting – do I have any right to see my grandchild?
By Katryna Induni
17 May 2022
It is common for grandparents to be regularly involved in the lives of their grandchildren.
If you are a grandparent and your relationship with your children become fractured, this may impact on the time that you are able to spend with your grandchildren. If that occurs, you may want to consider your legal options to spend time with your grandchildren.
Under section 65C of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the following people may apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“the Court”) for a parenting Order:
- Either or both of the child’s parents; or
- The child; or
- A grandparent of the child; or
- Any other person concerned with the child’s welfare, care or development.
This gives grandparents the ability to apply to the Court for parenting Orders to spend time with their grandchildren.
The Court will then need to consider whether it is in the child’s best interest to spend time with their grandparents.
I am a grandparent and the primary caregiver of my grandchild, what should I do?
If you are the primary caregiver of your grandchild, you may need parenting Orders to allocate parental responsibility to you and provide certainty for the time that the child spends with their parents, if any.
The first step in trying to obtain parenting Orders is usually to attend mediation or a family dispute resolution conference, for example community-based mediation through a service such as Relationships Australia. This can be an important opportunity to try and resolve the issues amicably and without the need for court proceedings.
If mediation is unsuccessful or the other party fails to attend, then the mediator will issue a s60i Certificate, which enables you to file an Initiating Application seeking parenting Orders.
We would recommend you speak to a member of our family law team about your concerns first before you action any steps to ensure that you are making an informed decision. The Tisher Liner FC Family Law team can assist with drafting the Court documents or extending the invitation to the parent/s to attend mediation to discuss your time with your grandchildren.
My grandchild lives with their parent/s and I think they are at risk of harm, what should I do?
If you have concerns about the safety and welfare of your grandchildren, it is important that you take action as soon as you can.
You may want to discuss your concerns with the Victorian Child Protection Service or with Victoria Police.
You may be advised to act protectively and seek urgent parenting Orders for the protection of the grandchildren. It is possible to commence court proceedings without a s60i Certificate in some circumstances and a member of our family law team at Tisher Liner FC Law can provide you with advice and assistance to file urgent court proceedings.
If you are a grandparent or other family member and require advice in relation to spending time with your grandchild or grandchildren, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
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