Although many grandparents feel a strong connection to their grandchildren, sometimes they may not be able to see their grandchildren, for many reasons such as:
- The death of their own child and relocation of their grandchildren’s surviving parent
- Divorce or separation of their grandchildren’s parents
- Alienation from their own child, who is the parent of their grandchildren
Unfortunately, grandparents don’t really have rights in Ontario family law. If you are a grandparent and you have lost contact with your grandchildren because of decisions made by their parents, normally there is very little that can be done by the courts. We recommend trying to work things out informally, or by going to family counselling or seeing a mediator. We will help you if it is possible.
Grandparent’s Visitation And Access Lawyer
If mediation and negotiation don’t work, there is a legal recourse through the courts, but it is difficult to use. Grandparents can apply for access to their grandchildren through the courts as “third-party members,” with no special rights to the child.
In order to apply for access, you will need police and Children’s Aid Society clearances, and then you will have to:
- Prove that you have an established bond with your grandchild
- Prove that a relationship with you is in the child’s best interests
- Prove that the relationship has been harmed by your grandchild’s parents and that there was no good reason for it
Although there have been efforts to make grandparents’ rights a priority for the court, so far a grandparent is legally in the same position as any other non parent who has a close relationship with the child. The rights of the child’s parents, including their right to decide who has access to the children, are assumed to be much greater than grandparents’ rights.
Our Toronto grandparents’ rights lawyer can argue on your behalf during your application. The fact that you are related by blood will be taken into account. However, it will be weighed along with other considerations such as the stability of your grandchild’s environment and the wishes of his or her parents.
Although grandparents do not have legally defined rights in Ontario family law, contact Baker & Baker at 416-964-2215 or by email to see if there is anything you can do to get back into contact with your grandchildren. We may be able to help.