Contact for grandparents, grandfather with grandson Grandparents are playing an increasingly important role in family life, offering love, support, advice and experience. The relationship between a child and their grandparent is unique and contributes to a mutual sense of well-being and belonging within the family.
Furthermore, grandparents now provide a significant amount of childcare support and as a result are spending more time with their grandchildren than ever before.
Where a relationship breaks down, possibly through family issues, death, divorce or separation, it is often a source of great distress to grandparents that they find themselves having less and less contact with grandchildren. Historically case law has tended to consider contact in favour of absent parents, leaving grandparents feeling neglected and powerless: but the courts now recognise the huge role grandparents have and the contribution they make.
The Family Law Act sets out important principles that underlie the way family disputes should be resolved. These principles emphasise that, except when it would be contrary to a child's best interests:
Children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development (such as grandparents and other relatives. (section 60 (B) (2) (b) )
If you are involved in a dispute about spending time with your grandchild you should first consider participating in Family Dispute Resolution.
There may, however, be circumstances where you have been the main carer of your grandchild and you are worried about a child being removed from your care, or the child may be in the care of parents but you have concerns about the welfare of the child. In circumstances such as these you should seek legal advice from a family lawyer.