The Law and the Rights of Grandparents
In the fall of 2016, Bill 34, also known as “An Act to amend the Children’s Law Reform Act with respect to the relationship between a child and the child’s grandparents” was passed. This change is a significant step forward in allowing grandparents to make a claim for access during custody disputes.
The Court continues to have discretion in determining whether to award access to the grandparent(s) and will not be automatically granted. The legal test used by judges to make this determination is called the “best interests of the child” test. This includes looking at the relationship between the grandparents and the child(ren). The following factors could also be used to determine whether the grandparent(s) should get court-ordered access (i.e. parenting time) or custody:
- The past and current relationship between:
- The child(ren) and the party (in this case, the grandparent(s)) requesting access or custody;
- Other family members who are currently living with the child(ren); and
- Other people who are involved in raising and caring for the child(ren).
- The preference of the child(ren):
- Often this will be used as a factor if the child(ren) are of the age and/or maturity to provide their views and preferences.
- The length of time the child(ren) has lived in the current home environment;
- Each party’s (on either side of the custody/access dispute) ability and willingness to provide for the child(ren)’s needs and to act as a parent, including:
- Their proposed plan for the child(ren)’s care and upbringing; and
- Ability to provide a stable home environment.
At AGB Lawyers, we take pride in our demonstrated success assisting grandparents re-connect with their grandchild(ren). We provide advice with foresight; developing a strategic plan aimed at getting to the heart of the family dynamic and to meet individual circumstances. We utilize a well-considered negotiation process as a priority over a court application utilizing resources available to us and strategic process management.
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