Project Description

Parenting Orders for Grandparents

Parenting Orders for Grandparents

The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is very special. When a relationship ends or when a family is having difficulties, grandparents may take on the role of primary carer for their grandchildren or find that they’re no longer able to see their grandchildren as often as they’d like. If this happens, you may have legal options that you can explore.

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    Our experienced family law experts understand how stressful and difficult this can be. Led by John Odisho Putrus, who is Fairfield’s only Accredited Specialist in Family Law, they can help you:

    • Understand what your rights and options are.
    • Negotiate a legal agreement about your caring arrangements and register this with the Court.
    • Apply for a Parenting Order to give you access to your grandchildren.
    • Represent you in a Court dispute about the Parenting Order.

    Caring for Grandchildren Full-Time

    Sometimes it isn’t always possible for parents to care for their children. Often grandparents or another relative, like an aunt or uncle, may step in and look after the children. They are often called kinship carers. If you’re caring for your grandchildren most or all of the time informally you may want to make it legal. You can do this by putting it in writing and having both parents consent to the arrangement. This can then be registered with the Court.

    By formalising your arrangements you can make sure you don’t have any disputes in the future and you may also be eligible for some financial benefits like a carers’ payment, child care benefits, the family tax benefit or Medicare. You may also be able to claim child support payments from the child’s parents.

    Maintaining Contact with Grandparents

    When a relationship ends, often a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchildren can get caught in the crossfire. If one parent doesn’t have custody of their children it may make it difficult for grandparents to maintain their special relationship with the children. Grandparents do have some rights in these circumstances.

    Australian law gives children the right to spend time and communicate with people who are important to them, like their grandparents and other family members. This is done by using a Parenting Order.

    A grandparent or relative can make an application for a Parenting Order to the Court. This may say that the child is to live with them or must spend time or communicate with them. This means a parent can be ordered to allow you to see and speak to your grandchildren regularly even if they’re no longer in a relationship with your child. Although a Parenting Order can apply even if your grandchildren’s parents are still together.

    For example, if your son’s relationship ends and his ex-partner doesn’t let you see your grandchildren you may be able to get a Parenting Order. This could give you legal rights to visit and speak to your grandchildren regularly.

    The Best Interests of the Child

    While grandparents can apply for a Parenting Order, the Court does not have to give grandparents a right to access to their grandchildren. The Court will consider what’s in the best interests of the child when making its decision. This may include considering:

    • The need to protect the child from harm.
    • What the child wants.
    • The child’s relationship with their grandparents and other relatives.
    • How practical it is for the child to spend time or communicate with their grandparents.
    • The lifestyle and background (like culture and traditions) of the child and grandparents.


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