Do grandparents have legal rights to their grandchild? After the breakdown of relationships between couples with children, grandparents’ rights are usually neglected. Grandparents play a significant role in a child’s life and in some extreme circumstances, they can even be the primary carer.
According to the Family Law Act, a grandparent is entitled to make an application for a parenting order if they want to have access and custody of their grandchildren. An order will only be granted after the best interests of the child are considered.
In this article, we’ll know about factors related to do grandparents have legal rights, and more importantly what rights they have.
Do Grandparents Have Legal Rights To See Their Grandchildren?
Under the Family Law Act 1975, a grandparent is considered the parent of a child’s mother or father. In some cases, they can be a biological parent or a non-biological parent. Section 60B also outlines that the child has the right to spend time and have a meaningful relationship with both parents and other significant people under their care, welfare, and development.
How do grandparents have legal rights over their grandchildren like the child’s parents? If the grandparents feel that their grandchildren are not getting the proper parental care, they can also apply for custody in court.
There’s not a big difference between parents’ rights and grandparents’ rights in Australia and the latter can also request a parenting order in court. The court can also order a halt on the grandparents’ access to their grandchildren according to the child’s best interest.
When talking about do grandparents have legal rights to their child, it may be necessary or advisable for grandparents to apply for child access and custody if the parent is:
- Unwilling to care for the children
- Unable to care for the child; and/or
- Lacks the capacity to care for the child
If a parent falls under one of the above categories, the court may be satisfied and recognise the parent’s incapacity in providing the basic needs of the child. Abuse, neglect, and illicit use of drugs and/or alcohol are also factors for the court in granting an order that can favour the grandparent.
- The child’s care, well-being, and development
- Where the child currently resides
- Who is caring for the child and who they spend time with
Having said this, when a relationship ends in divorce or separation, this does not automatically make the grandparents have the legal right to see their grandchildren. When talking about do grandparents have legal rights in seeing their grandchildren, this depends on the child’s best interest and the limitations the parents place on the grandparents.
The court will look at whether the relationship is in the best interest of the child when the law refers to the rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren. The court will refer to the following:
- The benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with their parents and grandparents
- The need to provide security and protection for the child from any form of abuse
- The nature of the relationship between the child and grandparent
- The capacity of a grandparent to provide for the child’s basic needs and a meaningful relationship
- The likelihood of the child’s well-being changing
- The difficulty and expense of the child spending time with the grandparent
Do Grandparents Have Legal Rights To Financial Assistance?
The child support agency may calculate grandparents’ care according to the number of nights a child is expected to spend with them in a year. If a grandparent is responsible for at least a significant amount of child care (35 percent), they may receive child support.
Grandparents who have full custody of grandchildren can file an application to Centrelink and receive financial assistance including:
- Grandparent child care benefit
- Family tax benefit
- Double orphan pension
- Child support
If the child has a disability or in cases of mental illnesses, the grandparent may also receive:
- Carer payments
- Carer supplements
- Carer allowance
- Child disability assistance payments
- Carer adjustment payments
In addition to financial assistance for grandparents, there are government and community support services that can assist grandparent caregivers. The Department of Human Services (DHS) should be able to assist grandparents and their solicitors in locating additional support organisations in their respective local areas.
Can Grandparents Be Stopped From Seeing Their Grandchildren?
In some cases, grandparents can be stopped from having direct contact or relationship with their grandchildren. This can occur when the relationship of a grandparent and their child has broken down or even when the parents of the child have gotten a divorce and one parent is denying the grandparent the right to see their grandchild.
This can also happen if the grandparents have been the primary carer for their grandchildren and the children’s parent returns to have them under their care. Again, if a grandparent really wants to have custody over their grandchildren, they can still apply for a parenting order especially when disputes arise.
Do grandparents have legal rights to have mediation with the parents? Yes. Court applications should be used as a last resort for any disputes that may happen when attempting to solve custody matters. . Before these applications are made, there must be evidence that all parties have attempted to resolve the matter through mediation.
When talking about ‘do grandparents have legal rights’, a child’s well-being and welfare are at stake as they’re on the receiving end of all the stress and possible unresolved disputes. It is worth getting proper legal advice before considering granting child custody to grandparents.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
A grandparent has as many rights as a parent to have child custody of their grandchildren if they’re not being properly cared for. Do grandparents have legal rights in receiving advice from legal professionals as well? Not only do JB Solicitors and our family law experts think so, but we also believe that we can be of great assistance in granting grandparents custody of their grandchildren.
Our fixed-fee prices also save grandparents from their financial worries, so we can aid them in helping them gain custody of their grandchildren.
Contact JB Solicitors for your child custody needs today