These applications are not common, as usually grandparents see the children during the time that their son or daughter has the children in their care. Sometimes however this is not possible because their son or daughter lives overseas or is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable.
In those circumstances it is possible for a court to make an order if it is satisfied it is in the best interests of the children to do so. It is always best for the parties to try and resolve these issues themselves with the assistance of trained counsellors before involving lawyers.
Do grandparents have rights to see their grandchildren under the Family Law system in Australia? In Australian family law, grandparents do not have an automatic right to spend time with their grandchildren. This situation can arise due to the divorce or separation of their own children. However, grandparents may bring an application before the Court by reason of being a person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.
Where it is considered to be in the child’s best interests to maintain a relationship with his or her grandparents (in circumstances where the parents of that child are not permitting contact), then the Court may make an order for the grandchildren to spend time with their grandparents.
Many grandparents who have had an active involvement in the upbringing and lives of their grandchildren can be adversely affected if their children separate or divorce. Restricting the hours they would normally spend playing with or looking after their grandchildren, or the child refusing to permit access to the grandchildren because of a breakdown in a relationship that has taken place between the grandchildren’s parents can be saddening for both them and the grandchildren.
When it comes to the law, the Family Law Act of 1975 considers what is seen as the best interests of the child and it recognises how important relationships are between children and their extended family members. Grandparents are, in particular, emphasized and the Court, when considering the best interests of the child, will be concerned about the visitation rights of the grandparents.