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Separation – your rights

What happens if your child separates from a spouse or partner? Does this mean you may not see your grandchildren again? Or at best once or twice a year? What does the family law act say?

There has been a shift in the law recently whereby the rights of grandparents to have a relationship with their grandchildren has been recognised. But enforcing this can be difficult and distressing for those involved.

Family law act
If your child separates from a spouse or partner, and access to the grandchildren is under consideration, the best interests of the child are the primary concern of the courts. This includes access to both parents and the need for physical and mental wellbeing. Under additional considerations are access to other people, including grandparents.

Parenting orders
Who will the child live with and how much time will they spend with the other parent and other people, including grandparents? If both parents want access and both have parents who also want access this is six adults wishing access to a child, and six into one is a ver challenging sum! The following document explains how parenting orders work
or phone 1300 352 000

Helpful overview brochure on grandparenting

The legal costs involved can also be prohibitive and legal action should be a last course of action. So what steps do you take to rectify a difficult situation between grandparents and the parents of their grandchildren? The following organisations have many years experience in dealing with reconciliation and may be able to assist.

Families Australia
Raising Children Network
Family Relationships

When all else fails and legal action is the only course left, Community Legal Centres can provide free advice on how to proceed. To find a centre in your area, visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

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