Historically, grandparents have had few legal rights when it comes to caring for their grandchildren. Over time, the government has started to recognize the importance of this relationship and changed the law to give grandparents more rights, particularly through the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Divorce Act.
If you are currently unable to see your grandchildren, a skilled family lawyer might be able to help you secure the right to do so. The specific circumstances of your situation will determine what those rights might be. An Ottawa grandparents’ rights lawyer could advise you on your available options and the possible outcomes in your case.
The Children’s Law Reform Act is a relatively new option for grandparents. This law was enacted in 2016 and allows grandparents to seek access to the child during a custody dispute. Whether or not the court will agree to grant rights to a grandparent under this act is based entirely on what is in the best interest of the minor child. An Ottawa grandparents’ rights lawyer could advise you on how your rights might be impacted during this process.
The concept of a child’s best interest is vague, which is why the law provides judges with guidelines of specific factors they must consider. A judge must weigh each of these components individually before determining the course of action that is best for the minor.
The judge must first look to the needs of the child based on their age and development. The court will also weigh the strength of the child’s relationship with each of their parents while also taking into account relationships with grandparents or siblings. Some other factors include:
Grandparents might also be able to secure legal rights pertaining to their grandchildren under the Divorce Act. This act applies in cases where the parents of the children have either divorced or are in the process of doing so.
During the course of divorce proceedings, grandparents have the opportunity to seek rights related to the minor children. They could petition for parenting-time and decision-making responsibilities, or they could request a contact order that allows them to have direct communication with the children.
The best interest of the child is the governing factor when a judge considers a request from a grandparent under the Divorce Act. In addition to making this determination based on what is most beneficial for the children, the court will also consider if a grandparent could have contact with the child while one of the parents maintains custody. Though, this is less likely to be an option if the relationship between the grandparents and parents is strained. A grandparents’ rights lawyer in Ottawa could help make a case that contact with the grandparents is in the best interest of the child.
There is no guarantee that the courts will grant a grandparent’s request for access to their grandchild. However, in certain situations, the law provides a path for grandparents to pursue those rights.
If you are considering legal action to gain access, visitation, or even custody rights of your grandchild, now is the time to retain a dedicated and accomplished legal professional. Call an Ottawa grandparents’ rights lawyer right away for a private consultation.
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