Do Grandparents Have Rights in Family Law?

Do grandparents have rights in family law?

Grandchildren have a right to see their grandparents although they must be protected from exposure to risk factors including family violence or illicit substance use.

The court will take into account children’s rights to have a relationship with their grandparents when determining the child’s best interests.

Under the Family Law Act or Family Court Act grandparents can make certain applications for orders relating to their grandchildren.

In Mathers and Matthews [2016] FCWA 5, the court considered evidence of the children’s close relationship with the grandparents when making custody orders.

The grandparents also successfully applied for a Violence Restraining Order against the father.

Picture of grandparents with grandchild

Can grandparents apply for parenting orders (custody) of their grandchildren?

Grandparents can apply for custody or to spend time with their grandchildren if the parents of their grandchildren were married or in a de facto relationship or even if they never lived together at all.

Parenting orders are a set of directions made by the Family Court of Western Australia about parental responsibilities.

As outlined in section 84 (2) of the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) (similar law is set out in Section 64 B of the Family Law Act), a parenting order may deal with one or more of the following:

  • The person or persons with whom a child is to live;
  • The time a child is to spend with another person or other persons;
  • The allocation of parental responsibility for a child;
  • If two or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child, the form of consultations those persons are to have with one another about decisions to be made in the exercise of that responsibility;
  • The communication a child is to have with another person or other persons;
  • Maintenance of a child;
  • Any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

A parenting order in relation to a child may be applied for (and proceedings may be instituted) by either or both of the child’s parents, , a grandparent of the child or a person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.

That is, the “person” referred to in section 84 (2) may be, or include, either a parent of the child or a person other than the parent of the child, including a grandparent or other relative of the child

Why speak to a Perth family lawyer?

Children’s matters can be complex. We, therefore, recommend you seek legal advice from our highly experienced Perth family lawyers. We invite you to discuss your particular matter with our Legal Practitioner Director, Shannon Bodeker, who has been working most exclusively in family law for over 20 years.

Before your first appointment, feel free to send an email to to outline your situation in as much detail as you would like. This information will be read on a complimentary basis prior to your first family law appointment and this information will be kept strictly confidential. We will get to know you and your family law matter before we meet. This will save time in your appointment/s.

Please note this is not family law advice. It is important to seek advice specific to your circumstances. Bodekers Family Lawyers can provide you with the very best legal advice regarding children’s matters. We hope to hear from you soon.

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