Grandparents: Apply to Court for Order to see Grandchildren

How to get a Court Order to see your Grandchild 

Does a Grandparent have to take court action?

If a Grandparent is being prevented from seeing, spending time with, or even communicating at all with their Grandchild or Grandchildren, then the Grandparent is entitled to seek that the Court to make an Order which will then set out the time they are able to spend with their Grandchild and how they can communicate with their Grandchildren.

Grandparents are able to do this because the Court considers it the right of the child, to enjoy a relationship with close extended family members.

Just because the parents are in Court getting orders about which parent the child lives with and how much time they spend with the other parent, does not mean, it will include grandparents. Grandparents need to apply separately, so that they are also listed on the court file as a ‘party’ to the court action.

A Grandparent does this by filing an Application with an Affidavit in support of their application.  First the Grandparent will have had to attempt Family Dispute Resolution (Mediation) so that they have the Section 60I Certificate that must be filed.

What Orders can a Court make for Grandparents?

If an Application is made to the Court for an Order for a Child to communicate with, or spend time with their Grandparent, the primary consideration for the Court is what is in the best interests of the child.

Grandparents can seek an order to:

  • Spend time with their Grandchild;
  • Be able to telephone their Grandchild and speak with them;
  • Have indirect contact with their Grandchild by being able to send letters, emails, gifts, birthday and christmas cards, sms text messages etc.

What will a Court want to know?

As well as other issues, the court will consider:

  • The connection between the Child and the Grandparent(s).
  • The nature of the relationship between the Child and their Grandparent(s).
  • The likely effect of any changes in the Child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the Child of any separation from a Grandparent.
  • Whether the Grandparent’s Application to spend time with the child might potentially be harmful to the Child’s well-being.
  • The capacity of the Grandparent(s) to provide for the needs of the Child, including emotional and intellectual needs.

The Court usually recognises that Grandparents play an invaluable and necessary role in the lives and emotional development of their Grandchildren.

Accordingly, unless there is evidence of abuse or violence, it is rare that a Court would not make an Order for a Child to spend time with their Grandparent.

The Court will usually be looking to see whether the relationship between the Child and their Grandparent is meaningful, on-going and is of significant benefit to the Child’s life and if not, why not.

Grandparents time with Grandchildren: More Information

We also have the following information sheets about the topic of Grandparents spending time with their Grandchildren, Grandparents rights and similar issues facing Grandparents:

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