Is it possible for Grandparents to be the sole custodians of their Grandchildren, if the parents are unable to reach an amicable solution to child custody?
Yes, it is possible for Grandparents to be the sole custodians of their Grandchildren.
The Family Law Act recognises a number of people who have the right to make an application to the Family Court for a parenting order in respect of children including:
– Either or both of the children’s parents; or
– The child; or
– A Grandparent of the child; or
– Any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.
What is a Parenting Order?
A Parenting Order is an order from the Court dealing with all or any of the following matters relating to a child:
– The people that the child lives with;
– The time the child spends with other people and the communications they have with them such as telephone contact;
– Who has parental responsibility for the child and, if parental responsibility is shared, the way the parties will communicate in order to make decisions about the child; and
– The maintenance of the child.
How does the Court decide what Parenting Order to make?
The paramount consideration of the Court in making a Parenting Order is what is in the child’s best interests.
How does the Court decide what’s in the child’s best interests?
The Family Law Act sets out the matters that the Court must consider when determining what is in the child’s best interests. These include:
– The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of their parents; and
– The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm or from being exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence;
Are there any other factors considered by the Court?
The Court will also consider:
– Any views expressed by the child taking into account the child’s maturity level and understanding;
– The nature of the relationship of the child with their parents and any other persons including their Grandparents;
– The extent that the child’s parents have taken the opportunity to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child as well as the taking the opportunity to spend time with or communicate with the child;
– The extent that the child’s parents has fulfilled their parental obligation to maintain the child;
– The likely effect of a change in the child’s circumstances including separation from the child’s parents or grandparents;
– The practicality of the child spending time and communicating with each parent; and
– The capacity of the child’s parents or grandparents to provide for the emotional and intellectual needs of the child.
What should Grandparents do?
If you are a Grandparent concerned about your grandchildren you need to be aware that you have rights under the Family Law Act. By discussing your circumstances with an expert family lawyer you can find out about your rights as a Grandparent.
If you are a Grandparent concerned about the effect a family breakdown is having on your Grandchildren, you need to speak to Frank Boitano, an expert in Family Law. Call Barwick Boitano today on (02) 9630 0444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
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