Family Law – Grandparents/Extended family members

Protecting Your Rights as Grandparents/ Extended Family Members to Provide Care for Grandchildren

Grandparents and other extended family members such as uncles and aunts are a significant part of a child’s life. They can be a primary caregiver following the separation or divorce of parents. When parents get a divorce, it often creates problems for the grandparents, especially in relationship maintenance with their grandchildren. This situation can also impact the relationship with other extended family members and kinship groups.

The Family Law Act of Australia gives a legal right to the grandparents to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives. They have the right by law to care for and spend time with their grandchildren. This also extends to other significant members of the family, such as uncles and aunts, depending on the situation. Many grandparents/ extended family members called kinship carers to raise their grandchildren because of the troublesome family relationships and circumstances.

We have extensive experience efficiently dealing with simple to complex family law cases. Our experienced family lawyers can guide you regarding your rights as grandparents or extended family members through the family disputes related to family members or grandparents and separation/ divorce of parents.

What Are My Legal Rights as a Grandparent/Extended Family Member Regarding Child Custody/Support?

According to the Family Law Act 1975, a grandparent refers to the biological or non-biological parent of a child’s father or mother. It means that the family court can issue an order that the child lives, communicates, or spend time with his/her grandparent. Grandparents reserve the right to apply for a parenting order at a family court. Other extended members of the family who can provide care for the child after separation or dispute of parents are also eligible to apply for parenting orders at a family court.

What Should I Do If I Want to Spend Time or Support My Grandchildren?

If you wish to spend time or support your grandchildren due to divorce/separation or family disputes of their parents, you can first negotiate with them by involving a third party. We can help you with the negotiations and advise in the child’s best interest. Once you have talks with the parents of your grandchildren, you can have an agreement regarding the time you want to spend or support you wish to provide to your grandchildren in the following ways:

  • You can do it through a consent order which needs agreement by both parents of your grandchild or grandchildren. This impacts the final court order as its binds and enforces both parents.
  • You can do it through a parenting plan, and both parents should sign it to include your involvement. However, this plan is not enforceable or binding. You cannot submit an application to obtain a contravention order from the court if any of the parents withhold your grandchildren or grandchild.

What Should I do if Negotiation Fails?

In case the negotiations between you and your grandchildren/grandchild’s parents fail, you can apply for a court order that allows you to spend time and have communication with your grandchild/ grandchildren. However, the court considers certain factors while doing so, including the wishes of the child/children, the amount of time they have spent with their grandparents, the bonding between the children and their grandparents, and whether it’s practical for grandparents and grandchildren to facilitate time.

If you need expert advice and guidance, you can contact us. Our highly qualified and experienced lawyers ensure to resolve the matters in your and your grandchild’s best interest.

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Grandparents/Extended family members Lawyer (Gold Coast, Brisbane, Tweed Heads, Lismore): 07 5661 3000

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