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Grandparents’ Rights

Due to the breakdown of relationships with your child, sometimes grandparents are not allowed to see their grandchildren. In other circumstances, if the parents of the child are divorced, then the other parent may stop you from seeing the child.


In Australia, the Family Law Act applies in cases of separation, property division, and custody of children. Grandparents have the right under the Act to apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to spend time with their grandchildren. They can also ask for their custody in cases of divorce or separation.

Parental rights vs Grandparent rights

There are not many differences between parents’ rights and grandparents’ rights in Australia. However, they are not the official guardians of the child until they have a Parenting Order from the Court. If the grandparents feel that their grandchildren are not receiving proper parenting, they can apply to the 

Court for custody of the child. If the parents make an agreement for the child after separation, the grandparents can ask parents to add their rights into the agreement. However, the Court can also order the grandparents from seeing the child according to the child’s best interest.

Custody and access

A grandparent is entitled under the Family Law Act 1975 to make an application for a parenting order if they want access or custody of their grandchild or grandchildren. The Court will only grant an order when they consider it to be in the best interests of the child.


Sometimes the child’s parents may not be the best of parents. They may have a mental illness or addiction which can affect the life of a child. If you find the child’s life at risk you should contact Child Safety Services immediately. If you think that the child is safe or safer with you, you can make an application to the Court to take custody of the child.


It may be necessary for grandparents to apply for access, or custody of the grandchild where the parent:

  • Is unwilling to care for the child;
  • Is unable to care for the child; or
  • Lacks the capacity to care for the child.


The Court will need to be satisfied that the parent falls within one of these categories and cannot meet the needs of the child to give custody to the grandparent.


Where there is evidence of abuse, neglect or substance abuse the Court is more likely to grant an order in favour of the grandparent/s.

Do grandparents receive financial assistance?

If you are responsible for at least 35% care of your grandchild, you may be eligible to receive child support.


If you are the parent of a child and in a dispute with a grandparent regarding the custody of your child and how time is spent with them, we can assist you.


We will work through your matter to ensure that you have the greatest chance of resolving your family matter in the best interests of the child. We can advise you on mediation and practical steps that can improve your chances of success in these types of custody matters.

We make things easy, efficient, and worry-free. Talk to us today.