What about Grandparents?

You may be a grandparent who is caring for or raising your grandchildren. You may be a grandparent who is concerned about your grandchild’s safety or well-being.

Or you may have been stopped from seeing your grandchildren and would like to know what you can do about it."

The information regarding grandparents also applies to "other relative carers, such as aunts or uncles or other family members who are caring for or raising children."

The Family Law Act and the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act NSW are the two laws that affect the care of children and grandparents. The two acts set out "what legal options you have, what financial assistance is available to you and where you can get legal help."

"The Family Law Act acknowledges the importance of children having a relationship with their grandparents. Grandparents are specifically mentioned in the Family Law Act as being able to apply to a court for orders to do with their grandchildren. However it is important to be aware that this does not mean that grandparents (or indeed parents) have an automatic right to have contact with the children.

The Family Law Act makes it clear that the ‘best interests of the child’ are the main considerations when it comes to decisions about parenting. The focus of the Family Law Act is on the rights of children to know and be cared for by both parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development, such as grandparents and other relatives."

"The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act NSW is the law that applies in New South Wales when the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) thinks it is necessary to intervene to protect a child or young person from neglect or abuse. Care and protection law is completely separate from and has nothing to do with family law.

FACS is the NSW Government child protection agency. FACS can support families to look after their children, or can remove children from their parents if it thinks it is necessary for their safety, welfare and well-being or if they are at risk of harm.

Grandparents can sometimes get involved when FACS makes decisions about the children and in some cases may be able to have the children placed in their care. You can apply to be joined as a party to Children’s Court proceedings started by FACS or the Court can join you as a party."

Reference: Legal Aid NSW

Christine Bennett offers Family Dispute Resolution and Relationship Counselling in Crows Nest, Central Coast NSW and online.