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Calgary family law: Grandparents' rights

Cases where Alberta grandparents are estranged from their grandchildren are not uncommon. Perhaps the estrangement happens because the grandparents' own child has limited access or custody of the children involved. In these situations, grandparents may be able to demand visitation rights. Still, due to the nature of Alberta's Family Law Act, the case must be strategically planned in order for them to be successful.

According to Alberta's Family Law Act, there is no express "right" of grandparents to see their grandchildren. Indeed, hey might be able to convince the court to provide them with the ability to spend time with their grandchildren in certain situations. Usually this requires the grandparents to show how a relationship with their grandchildren would be in the best interest of the grandchildren.

When making the decision to award visitation time to grandparents courts look at a lot of factors. First, they want to see that the contact is in the best interest of the grandchildren. Second, they want to make sure that it is in alignment with the grandchild's own wishes. Third, they want to see a real benefit associated with the child's relationship. Fourth, they need to see that a strong relationship already exists. Fifth, they will look to ensure that there was no history of family violence by the grandparent. Finally, they will look to see if the parents have a sensible reason for denying contact.

At Calgary Family Law Associates we help grandparents with their petitions to gain visitation rights. We have helped numerous grandparents gain such rights and we are able to review the facts of a specific situation to determine whether such rights are worthy of pursuit.

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