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Grandparents play an important role in a child’s life and can contribute to their overall health and wellbeing. However, there are times when a grandparent’s rights can become neglected – especially during the divorce or breakdown of the parents’ relationship. At Culshaw Bishop Lawyers, we are experienced in all areas of family law, including the needs and rights of grandparents so contact us today for help and advice.
Do grandparents have rights to see grandchildren in South Australia?
Being a grandparent doesn’t automatically give you a right to spend time with your grandchildren. However, if your grandparents visitation rights are at risk, subject to certain conditions, and pursuant to Section 65C of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), you are able to file an Application for Parenting Orders. The family lawyers at Culshaw Bishop are here to assist you in this regard.
Can I go to court to see my grandchildren?
Section 65C(ba) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) recognises that grandparents and those who are concerned with the care, development and welfare of the child, can apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for parenting orders in relation to a child. Section 69C sets out who may institute proceedings, with grandparents falling within this section.
Section 60B(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 recognises that 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.
In making an Order which is in the best interest of the child, the Court will consider the nature of the relationship of the grandparent (section 60CC (3) (b)(ii) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)). Section 64C of the Family Law Act sets out the Orders that can be made for a child such as living arrangements, time spending arrangements, communication, parental responsibility and maintenance.
How to apply for grandparents rights
In most cases, prior to filing an Application for Parenting Orders, you are required to attempt to resolve matters by way of Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). Exceptions to the rule apply in circumstances, for example where domestic violence is a factor, or the children are considered at risk. If FDR is unsuccessful, then the FDR practitioner will issue you a 60I certificate, after which you are at liberty to file the application.
When applying for grandparent rights, there are two common applications grandparents apply for:
- Application for Communication and Time Spent: commonly used in cases where the parents are limiting grandparents access rights, preventing the children from having a relationship with their grandparents
- Applications for Parental Responsibility: commonly used in cases when the parents are considered incapable, unable, or unwilling to provide care for the children
When should a grandparent intervene?
If you believe that your grandchildren’s needs are not being met, that you are being prevented from spending time with your grandchildren, or you have genuine concerns for your grandchildren’s safety and wellbeing, contact the lawyers for grandparents rights at Culshaw Bishop Lawyers.
Can you stop grandparents from seeing grandchildren?
In general, the Court encourages grandparents to have a meaningful relationship with their grandchildren, if it is in the best interest of the children and there are no safety concerns present.