It can be incredibly painful to see your adult children go through a divorce, struggle with parenting or experience personal setbacks. When these situations compromise your time and access to your grandchildren, they can be exceptionally agonizing.
Under these difficult circumstances, protecting your connection with your grandkids can be something you need to work for. And this can involve taking legal action.
What are your rights?
In Alberta, there are no laws explicitly guaranteeing the rights of grandparents to contact or see their grandchildren. However, being open and cooperative with your child and the other parent of your grandchild can help you preserve your connection.
If you cannot come to an agreement with the parents, there are circumstances under which you could petition the courts to:
- Issue an order for contact
- Make you a guardian for your grandchild
- Grant you permission to care for your grandchild
The option that will be most appropriate will depend on what your goal is. Do you wish to maintain contact with your grandkids? Are you attempting to care for minor children because their parent or parents cannot? You will also need to take into account your existing relationship with your grandchildren and both of their parents.
What is in your grandchild’s best interests?
Whether you make an agreement with your grandchild’s parents or you are asking the court to grant you time with and access to them, the priority is to ensure the outcome is in your grandchild’s best interests.
To convince parties that protecting your relationship with your grandkids is in their best interests, you will want to show that:
- You have an existing and positive relationship
- You support their emotional, cultural, social and educational development
- Your grandchild has a preference in your favour
- You will prioritize their safety and well-being
Showing that you are a positive, stable and safe presence in your grandchild’s life can go a long way in protecting your relationship.
Unfortunately, family dynamics are complicated, and events like divorce or death only add to the stress and complexity people struggle with. If, in the midst of all this, you are worried about whether you will be able to see your grandchild, you can seek legal guidance to help you take the necessary steps to safeguard your relationship.