Do grandparents have family law rights?

You may find yourself in a situation where your child or their partner is refusing to let you see your grandchildren or if you are playing a significant role in the care of your grandchildren, threatening to take them away. As a grandparent, you do not have an automatic right to see or care for your grandchildren, but this does not mean you are unable to do anything. 

It is not uncommon for grandparents to play a major role in the care and support of grandchildren due to the drug, alcohol or mental health issues of their parent(s). Even if you have an amicable but informal agreement with the parents, there may be occasions where you wish to formalise the arrangement: 

  • To protect your grandchildren’s interests; or 
  • To allow you to better deal with doctors, schools and other institutions on the grandchildren’s behalf. 

Australian Family Law allows a grandparent to make an application for a parenting order if they want access to or custody of their grandchild.1 Parenting orders are a legally enforceable option that can regulate your rights with respect to your grandchild.  

What are Parenting Orders? 

A parenting order is a binding and enforceable order of the court that must be adhered to by the parents and in this case, grandparents, of the children in question that can only be changed by a further court order. 

If you would like to speak to someone about your rights, call us on 1300 654 590 or email

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