I’m a grandparent. Do I have the right to spend time with my grandchild?

1. Talk to your grandchild’s parent

Talk to your grandchild's parent to see if they will agree to a plan that allows your grandchild to visit or keep in touch with you without going to court.

If the parent has concerns about your grandchild spending time with you, talk to them about their concerns. If you or the parent has concerns about violence or abuse, it may not be suitable to discuss some issues directly. You can try to work out the issue with the help of a family law professional, such as a mediator, social worker, or lawyer. It's important to keep your grandchild out of the conflict.

parenting plan checklist can help you with the things you may have to think about. Not everything on the checklist may apply to your situation.

For example, you can think about:

  • when and how often visits take place
  • how often your grandchild keeps in touch with you, whether by telephone, email, skype, or text
  • how to discuss things with the parent to avoid conflicts
  • who's responsible for picking up and dropping off your grandchild for visits
  • how changes to the plan are made
  • how to deal with changes in the future

If your grandchild is older and emotionally mature, they can be asked what they want. Sometimes children don't want to be part of these decisions. But if they do, and if they can share their views and wishes freely, then it may be alright for you or someone else to talk to them about the options.

If you and the parent agree on a plan for contact, you can make a written agreement.

The agreement has to follow certain rules to make it binding and enforceable under the law. This means that anyone who doesn't follow it can be ordered by the court to do what the agreement says.

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