When a family unit breaks up, it’s stressful for everyone involved. Parents need to learn how to navigate new family structures as a single parent or with new partners. Children have to adjust their lives and come to terms with having to split their time between their parents.
But what about grandparents?
What Rights Do Grandparents Have To See Their Grandchildren?
Grandparents often have no say when it comes to seeing their grandchildren after the parents get divorced.
In most cases, they will only be able to see their grandchildren when they are spending time with the parent who is their child.
This can often significantly reduce the contact grandparents have with their grandchildren, depending on the custody arrangements that have been set.
If a child is used to having regular contact with a grandparent or grandparents, the effect of cutting off this relationship should be carefully considered by both parents.
When it comes to separation and divorce, it is often said that the child has rights, whereas parents have responsibilities. The same could apply to grandparents when it comes to their rights and responsibilities.
Children have a right to spend time with and communicate with not only their parents but any other significant people in their lives. This includes aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and anyone else who has a significant bearing on important aspects of the child’s life.
Parenting Orders For Grandparents
If you, as a grandparent, are concerned about how much access you have to your grandchildren, you can find out about seeking a parenting order.
There are 2 types of applications that are common in these cases.
The first is an application for the children to spend time with you or, to communicate regularly if seeing them in person is not practical.
The second is an application for parental responsibility and for the grandchildren to live with you.
The second type is usually only pursued if neither parent wants to or is able to care for the children.
Dispute Resolution & Mediation For Grandparents
If you’re considering a parenting order for communication and visits with your grandchildren, you may be asked to go through mediation first, before taking your case through the courts. Normally, mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution is an essential prerequisite to commencing action through the Courts.
Some parents may refuse to attend mediation with grandparents but an attempt to discuss this with a mediator is always preferable to dragging things through the courts. Not only are the Courts expensive, it’s also stressful and time-consuming for everyone involved.
If you’re a grandparent looking for access to your grandchildren, give our mediation team in Perth a call today. A chat with our mediator is completely confidential and our mediation is fixed-fee and solution-focused.