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Grandparents' Rights

Can Grandparents Get Custody or Access? There are situations in which Grandparents can obtain custody or access orders in their favour. While there is a presumption that the parents of a child are equally entitled to custody, there is no such presumption for grandparents. Grandparents only have rights to the children pursuant to a court order.

Grandparents should appreciate that courts will not interfere in custody and access arrangements for any but the most serious of reasons. And by starting a court action against the parents, grandparents may be severely damage the relationship they have with the parents. It goes without saying that grandparents are well advised to seek court intervention in only the most serious of cases; cases that involve major parenting issues that affect the best interests of the children.

It is normally not sufficient to indicate that a grandparent has been denied access, a decision that parents have control over as an aspect of custody. There is an underlying assumption, in decided cases, that access should remain at the discretion of the parents. It is not enough to show that access to the grandparents might be beneficial to the children. The ultimate test in any custody or access application will distill down to what is in the best interests of the child. See the contents of s. 24 of the Children’s Law Reform Act under Custody section, here.