Can Grandparents Have a Say in Divorce Parenting Orders?


Grandparents can often develop a very deep relationship with their grandkids and may become particularly worried if the parents are about to go through a divorce. The elders may clearly be concerned about the grandchildren's welfare and may also worry if they will be able to spend as much quality time as before. If you're in this position, can you have any input into the negotiations at this stage?

Being Involved in Parenting Orders

Many divorce cases end up in front of the Family Court, and where children are involved, this will often lead to formal parenting orders. These orders can be drawn up by the parents (if they see eye to eye) and will then be formally ratified by the court. The orders could contain details about how much time the children will spend with each parent, as well as financial arrangements and other matters. However, these orders may not contain any information about grandparent rights, so you may not have an automatic right to visitation.

Lodging a Formal Application

However, it may well be in the best interests of the children to interact with their grandparents, and in this case, it's definitely worth lodging a formal application with the court for consideration. Ideally, the parents will suggest a solution that is palatable to all parties so that this can be included in the parenting order anyway.

Understanding How Judges View the Situation

When it comes to the law itself, the judges will be most concerned with the welfare of the kids. They will only make a ruling that bypasses the immediate needs of the parents if those adults are unwilling, unable or unfit to care for the children anyway. Otherwise, the parents must share responsibility for looking after the children, and the kids should spend equal time with both adults.

Getting down to Detail

It's not unheard of for grandparents to gain sole or shared custody of the children in certain circumstances, although this is relatively rare. Typically, the judges will want to see evidence of neglect or abuse on the part of the immediate parents before they will issue such a ruling. However, if you can get this type of custody, then you may be able to apply to a government department for some financial support. This and other potential tax benefits may help you meet the cost of raising the children.

What to Do Next

Clearly, there are many different factors involved in this type of situation, and it is best if you get legal advice before you put forward your case. Get in touch with family law services, and they'll be able to provide you with some guidance.


19 July 2022

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