Rights of Grandparents under Australian Law 

Family Law

Indirectly, grandparents have a significant impact on the lives of their grandchildren. The grandparent’s job in the family is to enrich their grandchildren’s life with wisdom, maturity, stability, and unconditional love. Grandparents may serve as the primary caretaker for a kid and can have a big impact on their lives. Understanding the rights of a grandparent to see and take care of grandkids is crucial in many circumstances. Clause 2 of section 60B of the Family Law Act of 1975 gives grandparents rights toward their grandchildren. In circumstances of separation, divorce, property division, and child custody, the Family Law Act of 1975 is applicable. Grandparents are entitled to file a petition with the Family Court requesting time to spend with their grandchildren. In the event of a divorce or separation, they might also apply for their custody. The Family Act Law explicitly states that grandparents may ask a court to consider their grandchildren’s best interests. However, it does not automatically provide them with the right to be in contact with the kids. The Family Law Act defines grandparents as the mother’s or father’s parents. A kid typically has four biological grandparents, whether alive or have passed away. Non-biological grandparents are also possible. Children have a right to regular communication with persons deemed crucial to their welfare, care, and development, according to the Family Law Act of 1975. Grandparents are expressly mentioned as being part of the group of persons with whom the kid should keep in touch. A grandparent will have the right to petition the court, but they do not necessarily have the right to care for or visit their grandchild.  

Custody and Access 

According to the Family Law Act of 1975, grandparents have the right to apply for a parenting order if they seek custody or visitation rights over their grandchildren. The court will issue an order only when it deems it to be in the child’s best interests. Parents can usually readily pick who will keep the kids. Additionally, they have little trouble making decisions for other facets of their child’s life, and a parenting plan may be created, a written document outlining their choices. Writing consent orders and registering them in the Family Court allows parents to formalize these agreements. 

Grandparents may need to ask for visitation rights or custody of their grandchildren if the parent:  

  • is unwilling, unable, or incapable of providing for the kid,  
  • or cannot provide for the child.  

The parent must fit into one of these categories and be unable to care for the kid or children, according to the court’s satisfaction. The court is more likely to issue an order in favour of the grandparents where there is proof of abuse, neglect, or drug misuse. The grandmother may be granted exclusive custody of the kid under the decree or joint custody with the parent. 

Parental Responsibility 

The grandparent may be given parental responsibility for that kid if the court decides that giving them access or custody is in the child’s best interests. This indicates that, with connection to the grandchild, the grandparent will possess all the legal authority, power, obligation, and responsibility that parents typically have. The grandmother can make choices for the kid without consulting them if they are given parental authority. The grandparent can decide on matters pertaining to the child’s upbringing, welfare, and growth, including their education, health, living situation, and religion. 

Child’s best interest 

The court will consider a variety of various considerations, such as the following, in determining whether it is in the child’s best interests to be put in the grandparent’s custody:  

  • the need to safeguard the child’s physical or mental health;  
  • the advantage of having a deep relationship with their parents and grandparents;  
  • how the youngster interacts with their parents and grandparents;  
  • whether the child is being maintained financially;  
  • the child’s potential reaction to change;  
  • If there is any proof of familial violence;  
  • and any opinions the youngster holds if they are old enough and mature enough to express pertinent opinions. 

The court will only grant grandparent custody if it determines that staying with the parent is not in the child’s best interests. 

Parenting order by consent 

A grandchild’s grandparents do not automatically have parental rights over them. However, it could be advantageous to formalize the agreement by creating a parenting order by consent if the kid has been living with the grandmother under an informal arrangement with the parent. 

A parenting order by consent can be created by creating a contract where the grandparent and parent agree on the custody schedule. Once a formal agreement has been reached, a request for a parenting order by consent must be presented to the court.  

The grandparents should get in touch with the police or the appropriate child protection agency in their state if they have any worries regarding the wellbeing of their grandchild. 

Assistance for grandparent caregivers 

Grandparents with full custody of their grandkids may apply to Centrelink for financial assistance in caring for the child, such as:  

  • Child Support, 
  • Double Orphan Pension, 
  • Family Tax Benefit,  
  • Grandparent Child Care Benefit.  

The grandparent may also apply to Centrelink if the kid has a handicap or a medical condition  

  • Child Disability Assistance Payment,  
  • Carer Adjustment Payment,  
  • Carer Supplement,  
  • Carer Allowance.  

Grandparents can get help from government and community support agencies in addition to financial aid. Locating support organizations in their region can be made easier with help from the Department of Human Services of the Australian Government. 


In Australia, there is no significant distinction between grandparents’ and parents’ rights. But they are not the child’s legal guardians until they receive a parenting order from the court. The grandparents can ask the court for custody of the kid if they believe their grandchildren are not receiving adequate parenting. The grandparents may request that their rights be included in the agreement if the parents establish one for the kid after their separation. However, if it is in the child’s best interest, the court might order that the grandparent be barred from visiting the child.  

It might be challenging to decide on parenting arrangements for the kid or children. Children benefit from having a systematic and stable structure in place, especially when they acclimate to living between two houses. To safeguard the kid, parents must determine whom the child will live with, how the youngster will interact with the other parent, and whether any particular issues need to be addressed. 

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