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    What power do grandparents have in Family Law?

    10/02/20 3:07 PM

    Grandparents often play a fundamental role in a child’s life from being their mentor, their friend, or even their main caregiver. During a family separation, there is usually a change in dynamics that occurs within the child’s extended family. In some cases, grandparents may become concerned about their grandchild’s wellbeing or safety or could be prevented from seeing their grandchildren.

    The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”) recognises the important role grandparents may have in a child’s life. The law acknowledges that even after separation, grandparents may also have a right to maintain a connection with the child. This might be through spending time with the child or communication with them on a regular basis. However, this isn’t an automatic right.

    S 65C of the Act specifically identifies grandparents as one of the categories of persons who can apply for a parenting order if they want access to or custody of their grandchild. The Court only grants such orders if it is considered to be in the best interests of the child.

    It may be in the best interest of the child to grant custody to a grandparent where the parents are unwilling, unable or lacking capacity to care for the child. Similarly, where there is evidence of neglect or abuse, a grandparent may be granted custody of the child.

    Furthermore, grandparents also have the right to apply for a child maintenance order, a location order or a recovery order in relation to a child.

    If you are a grandparent and are seeking further information regarding your rights in family law, you should get legal advice about your particular situation and what you can do. 

    If you have further information, please contact Kaitlyn Sheridan at

    This is not legal advice. 

    Kaitlyn Sheridan

    Written by Kaitlyn Sheridan