Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

In a family breakdown, the main focus is understandably on the parents’ rights regarding custody of the children. But there are other family relationships that can be extremely important to the children – particularly the role of grandparents.

In separation cases where a parent cuts the grandparents off from seeing their grandchildren, do grandparents have visitation rights, and what are they?


The Legal Visitation Rights of Grandparents

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) specifically recognises the importance of the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. It states that children have a right to a meaningful relationship with their grandparents, and that this right is not dependent on the wishes of the child’s parents. The Act provides that grandparents can be significant to the child’s care, welfare and development. This however, does not mean that grandparents have an automatic right to have contact with the children. This will be dependant on a number of things.


Protecting Your Bond with Your Grandchildren

So, in regards to the question, "do grandparent’s have visitation rights?", grandparents certainly do have some rights and responsibilities when it comes to visitation or living arrangements with their grandchildren.

Grandparents who have been stopped from having any contact with the children can apply to the Court under the Family Law Act. The Court will carefully consider whether maintaining your relationship is in the children’s best interests. Your right to apply for visitation rights with your grandchildren applies regardless of whether the parents were legally married, in a de facto relationship, or had ever lived together before.


What the Court Will Consider

In considering the case at hand, the Court will consider whether spending regular time together is in the best interests of the children. The Court will assess the existing relationship between grandparent and grandchildren, and the likely effect of change on the children. It will also consider the views of the grandchildren if they are old enough and mature enough to communicate these meaningfully.


Do You as Grandparents Have Visitation Rights? We Can Help

If you are a grandparent and want to protect your right to spend quality time with your grandchildren, we’re here to help with personal, tailored advice. Contact Pullos Lawyers for more information about your visitation rights as a grandparent.