There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a family. In modern families the role played by grandparents has become more significant. We are often asked what happens to the rights of those grandparents when mum and dad separate?
Changes were made to the FLA in 2006 to incorporate the importance of “significant others” in the legislation. The purpose being not to highlight the rights of grandparents per se – grandparents don’t have any rights – but to highlight the rights of children to maintain a relationship with “significant others”. These may be grandparents, aunties, uncles or other people that have developed a special relationship with a child that may be affected by the separation of the parents of that child.
Consider the following scenario
Maureen (paternal Grandmother) spends regular and consistent time with baby Eli and has done so since he was born. Maureen has him in her care one day a week, often looks after him when he is sick and is the first person asked to babysit. Mum and Dad separate, and in the meantime Dad and Maureen stop talking over a long-standing family feud.
Mum says Eli can spend time with Maureen when Eli is with Dad – but this doesn’t happen because Dad won’t talk to Maureen.
Eli is missing out on an important relationship – one which has been well established and developed over a period of time.
Maureen has standing to commence court proceedings to seek time with Eli and would argue that it is in Eli’s best interests to maintain his relationship with her.
Every scenario is different, and any court ordered resolution would be determined on the facts of each case. If you or someone you know has had a relationship with a grandchild that has been affected by the separation of parents – contact Macrossan & Amiet Solicitors to discuss your options today.