Options for Grandparents and other Family Members
When a parental relationship breaks down, the children involved may experience significant change not only with respect to their time and communication with their parents, but also with their extended family members, such as their grandparents, and other close relatives.
Family Law Act provides that in determining what is in the best interests of a child, the primary considerations of the Court are:
(1) the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and
(2) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
The Family Law Act sets out a comprehensive list of additional considerations when determining what is in a child’s best interests. Relevantly, to grandparents and relatives of the child, the Court may consider:
- the nature of the child’s relationship with other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child)
- the likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child) with whom the child has been living;
- the capacity of any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child) to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs; and
- if the child is an Aboriginal child or a Torres Strait Islander child: the child’s right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture (including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture).
We welcome your inquiry with regards to care arrangements for the significant children in your life, and would be pleased to provide you with legal advice about your options to maintain a meaningful relationship with them.