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

3. Go to court

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

Grandparents have a legal right to apply to the court and ask for a with their grandchildren. Sometimes you 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, you 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 the best interests of the child 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 you and your grandchild. The judge will also want to know:

  • why the parent doesn't want you to have contact with your grandchild
  • how you plan to keep in touch with your grandchild or spend time with them
  • if you can care for and meet the needs of your grandchild
  • in some cases, your grandchild'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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