Many child custody agreements will focus on finding a solution to sharing the care between two parents. However, there are other individuals who are likely to be involved in the process of raising a child and who therefore can feature in a custody case.
Grandparents are just one of the parties who can be factored into a custody agreement, which will often be reflected in any action the courts take.
The position of grandparents will depend on the processes that have already been put in place to support the care of a child. For example, if the parents have been able to come to an agreement on the care of their children through a parenting plan, grandparents can ask to be included in this plan so they also receive time with a grandchild.
On the other hand, the parents have been unable to come to an agreement and they subsequently apply to the courts for a parenting order, grandparents can be included in this process.
As will all family law matters involving children, the courts will consider which course of action is in the best interests of the child before coming to a final judgment on how time is split between different caregivers.
Finally, although grandparents don't have an automatic right to spend time with their grandchildren, a child does have the right to spend time with those who are a significant part of their lives. This means that grandparents can seek a parenting order to spend time with a grandchild in order to maintain this contact, even if one of the parents is attempting to prevent this interaction.
This means that grandparents can seek a parenting order any time they are unable to maintain contact with a child. This can also apply to any situation where one parent is preventing access to a grandchild, regardless of whether they are together or separating.
While grandparents and other relatives do have grounds to seek access to a child, there are a number of factors the courts will take into account when determining if this is the best course of action for the future.
With so many different considerations, it is also important for grandparents to seek the right legal advice regarding their position from a family lawyer. They will have the necessary expertise to ensure that any course of action has the best possible chance of success in the future.