Few things can be more stressful for children than when their parents separate. Given the significant role that grandparents play in a child’s life, being cut off suddenly from this source of support can exacerbate the anxieties and difficulties children face.
So, as a grandparent what can you do if you are no longer allowed to see your grandchildren?
- Make an appointment for mediation counselling with the parent refusing to allow you to see your grandchildren.
- Consider other options prior to the mediation enabling you to maintain contact and preserve your relationship with your grandchildren. It may be by way of Facetime, or Skype, or during the times when your child is providing care, or the old-fashioned way of sending cards.
- If all else fails, then you may need to seek legal advice in relation to initiating a letter setting out your proposal and the need to commence proceedings in the FCFCOA. Such proceedings may be expensive and divisive, so finding other means to resolve your dispute is encouraged.
The Family Law Act allows grandparents to bring an application before the Court seeking spend time Orders. However, grandparents do not have an automatic right to see or care for the children. Such an Order can only be made if it is in the best interests of the children.
There are times of course when grandparents need to be more interventionist. These include circumstances where one or both parents present a risk of harm to the children or are unable to care for them and the need for the children to live with you is a plausible option.
If you would like advice about your rights as a grandparent, please contact our office on (02) 4928 7300.
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