Do grandparents have a right to see their grandchildren? That question can be difficult for Canadian families, especially if the parents don’t get along and would rather avoid having their children seeing their ex’s family. Generally speaking, Canadian law states that relationships are supported between family members unless they aren’t in the best interests of the child.
If you’re a grandparent and have been limited or stopped from seeing your grandchild, there are some steps you can take to seek visitation time. You may be able to negotiate an agreement with the child’s parents in cases where they are married or with whomever has guardianship of the children if the parents are divorced.
If an agreement can’t be reached, you have the option of seeking out a court order that will mandate visitation time. The time you’d be allowed to have is called “contact with a child” and is protected under provincial family law. It may also be known as access if you’re reading about it under the federal Divorce Act.
The best interests of the child will always be the main priority of the court system. Usually, it’s in a child’s best interests to have continued contact with family members. However, sometimes, there are reasons you can’t see your grandchild for his or her own protection. For instance, if you don’t get along with the child’s parents, the court may find that the conflict would be better left alone and that the child’s best interests would be to avoid the conflict altogether.
Grandparents who are having difficulty getting to spend time with their grandchildren due to family disputes or other issues may be able to take legal action. Family law firms can provide helpful guidance.