What Rights do Grandparents Have?
The word “rights” isn’t really used by the Court, lawyers or expressly in the Australian Family Law when it comes to parents and other significant people in children’s lives like grandparents. That is to say, in Australia, parents, grandparents etcetera don’t actually have ‘rights’ to a child. Parents in particular have obligations to children, but they don’t really have express rights.
Children have all the rights. One of their most significant rights is the right to have a meaningful relationship with their parents.
Children also have a right to have a relationship with their grandparents, and that right will be upheld by the Court, provided it is in a child’s best interest for it to be so upheld. As such, if a child is being prevented from having a relationship with their grandparent, that grandparent is entitled to apply to the Court to seek Orders which would properly facilitate the child’s relationship with them. The Court would not automatically make such Orders however – it would first need to be satisfied, via evidence submitted by the grandparent, that the child would benefit from having a relationship with the grandparent.
This article was published by Kyle Barram on 11 August 2016. Kyle is a family lawyer based in Townsville.