When deciding parenting arrangements the ‘child’s rights’ become a priority, the child’s best interests- will trump the self-interests of parents.

Often grandparents are unaware, ‘their’ grandchildren are afforded rights to spend ‘time’ with ‘their ‘grandparents on a regular basis, as provided in the objects and principles of the Family Law Act (1975).

Grandparents, may apply to the court for a parenting order; these orders are tailor made to meet the best interests of the individual child. Parenting orders may vary. Ranging from orders for communication or time; to orders where the child moves in with the grandparents.

The court carefully examines, weighs up, makes findings and applies various considerations before granting a parenting order.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the grandparents would need to attempt mediation with all parties.

In delicate cases where parents do not have the capacity to look after their ‘own’ children, the court has deemed grandparents and significant others; may be suitable to obtain a parenting order. Often the purpose of these orders is to protect the children from harm re: Pohan & Anor v Kueffer & Anor [2009] FamCA 1040.

A parenting plan; in the best interests of their grandchildren, can be an asset to a successful order and a great foundation for the re-connection process.

Melissa Jane Petrak 19/08/15


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