GRANDPARENTS & CAREGIVERS RIGHTS
Parents’ rights to their children and children’s rights to their parents are often the primary focus of family law disputes. But what about grandparents? Are grandparents forgotten in the whirlwind of custody battles or parenting plans?
Historically, grandparents have not been granted clear and specific caregiver legal rights regarding custody and access in Ontario, but that has changed with the passage of Bill 34 in 2016 (now section 21(1) of the Children’s Law Reform Act). Bill 34 gave grandparents the right to make an argument for access during custody disputes.
Section 21(1) does not automatically grant a grandparent the right to access to a grandchild. It will be in the discretion of the court to determine whether granting access/custody to a grandparent will be in the best interests of the child in question, taking into account the specific circumstances at hand. A family lawyer can effectively present your case to the court to show how granting custody or access can benefit the child. Our experienced family law lawyers can help you prove what the court’s need to hear:
That the closeness of your relationship to your grandchild is important to the child;
That the grandchild wants to condone the relationship;
That the access is being arbitrarily or unreasonably withheld by a difficult parent;
That the parent’s wishes, which will be given considerable deference, are not in the grandchild’s best interests.
When grandparents have served as the custodial parent to a child for a period of time, they may be in a position to argue that to disrupt this relationship would not be in the best interests of the child.
If you are looking to fight for your caregiver legal right to custody of or access to your grandchild, one of our experienced caregiver legal rights lawyers can provide you with excellent representation to help you establish the right of your grandchild to continue a meaningful and beneficial relationship with you.