I’m a parent. Do my child’s grandparents have the right to spend time with them?
Parents usually decide who their children can spend time with. This usually includes extended family members, such as grandparents. But sometimes you may not allow a grandparent to spend time with your child. For example, you may not allow it:
- after you and your partner separate or
- after your partner dies
- if you don't have a good relationship with your parents or your partner's parents
In this situation, if the grandparent wants to see their grandchildren, they may apply to the court and ask for a . This allows them to spend time with their grandchildren.
The judge uses a legal test called the to decide who spends time with your child and for how long. The most important factor in this test is your child's physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and well-being.
The judge looks at the relationship between the grandparents and your child. The judge also tries to understand why you don't want the grandparents to have contact. For example, they look at whether:
- the grandparents have acted in ways that are in the child's best interests
- the grandparents are making unfair demands for contact
- there's a strong, positive relationship between the grandparents and the child
- the grandparents have been the child's caregiver in the past
- the child has lived with their grandparents in the past
- the grandparents are likely to play a positive role in the child's life
If you and your child's grandparents don't agree, it's important to keep your child out of the conflict. That means you should not speak badly about the grandparents in front of your child.
Just because you don't like the grandparents, it doesn't mean your child shouldn't see them.