I’m a parent. Do my child’s grandparents have the right to spend time with them?

3. Go to court

If you and your child's grandparents still cannot agree even with the help of a family law professional, or if that is not the right option for you, the grandparents may start a family law court case.

Grandparents have a legal right to apply to the court and ask for a that allows them to visit or keep in touch with their grandchildren. Sometimes they need to first get “leave” or the permission of the court to apply. This happens when the court case is related to the parent's . Otherwise, the grandparents can usually apply to court without getting special permission.

Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it's sometimes necessary to decide your issues.

A judge looks at the facts of your situation and the  test to make decisions about a contact order. The most important factor in this test is your child's physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and well-being.

The best interests of the child test includes looking at the relationship between the grandparents and the child. The judge will also want to know:

  • why you don't want the grandparents to have contact with your child
  • how you plan for your child to keep in touch with or spend time with their grandparents
  • if the grandparents can care for and meet the needs of your child
  •  in some cases, your child's views and wishes

Get legal help

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand what the law says about grandparents' rights to spend time with their grandchildren.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case. For example, they could help you fill out your court forms, or talk to you about what the judge will think is important in your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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