When parent’s of a child separate, one of the most difficult issues is deciding where the child will live. The Court’s first priority is ensuring arrangements are in the child’s best interests. In certain circumstances, that is best achieved by giving parental responsibility to someone other than the child’s parents, for example, grandparents.
The Family Law Act was amended in 2000 to expressly give grandparents the right to commence an Application in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for parenting orders. The rights given to grandparents acknowledge the importance of extended family to the care and development of children.
The Family Law Act presumes that it is in the best interests of a child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility. However, if there are reasonable grounds to believe a parent (or a person who lives with a parent) has engaged in abuse of the child or family violence, or the Court otherwise considers it is in a child’s best interests, it can make an order giving parental responsibility to another significant person, such as a grandparent.
We have acted for grandparents in a variety of child focused matters with differing reasons for their involvement. In some cases, the child’s parents are not available to care for them, or they may not have the ability to provide an adequate level of care. It can be a difficult topic for grandparents to discuss with their children. If you have concerns about the care, welfare and development of your grandchild, please contact us.
If you are not a parent or grandparent, but you have been significantly involved in the care and development of a child, you may have the right to make an Application to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court. If you would like further information about this, please contact us.
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