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Alberta family law does not provide automatic grandparents rights

Are you a grandparent who is denied the privilege of having a relationship with your grandchildren? Sadly, many grandparents in Alberta face this situation. Your son or daughter may be divorced, with limited custody, and the other parent may prevent you from having contact with your grandchildren. More tragic and extreme cases sometimes involve alcohol or drug abuse and dependency, neglect, domestic violence or criminality -- in which case child protection authorities may be involved, and you might be able to seek guardianship in a family law court.

In Alberta, grandparents do not have automatic rights to see or have any contact with their grandchildren. Without the consent of the parent who has custody, the sole solution may be to petition the court to allow contact. Authorities will look at different facts while they consider granting you the right to build or continue a relationship with your grandchild.

Matters to consider will include, first and foremost, the child's best interests, followed by the child's wishes -- if he or she is old enough to voice them. The next aspect to look at will be how the child may benefit from having a relationship with you. At this time the court will also look at the relationship history between you and your grandchild, and the possibility that denial of contact may jeopardise the child's emotional, physical and psychological well-being. The court will also look at the reason for the parent's refusal and consider the fairness of the denial.

Navigating such a petition in the intimidating atmosphere of the court may seem like too much of a challenge. However, you do not have to fight this battle on your own. The experienced legal team at Calgary Family Law Associates are there to help Alberta grandparents gain access to their grandchildren and give them the opportunity to form or continue loving bonds to last a lifetime.

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