Divorce can affect many relationships. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for grandparents to get caught in the crossfire and lose contact with their grandchildren. This is particularly common if their own children have limited custody or access to the children.
Contact issues don’t just arise in the context of divorce. Grandparents may become estranged from their own children or their children’s spouses, and lose the ability to stay in contact with their grandchildren.
Nurturing The Bonds
Technically speaking, Alberta’s Family Law Act does not give grandparents the right to contact their grandchildren. However, they can seek leave of the court to ask for contact, if they can show that it would be good for the children to have a relationship with their grandparents.
When deciding to give grandparents contact with their grandchildren, courts look at a number of factors, including:
- The best interests of the grandchild
- The grandchild’s wishes
- The benefit of the relationship with their grandparent
- The grandchild’s history of care, and the nature and strength of their existing relationship with his or her grandparents
- Any history of family violence
- The likelihood that the grandchild’s physical, psychological or emotional health may be jeopardized if contact is denied
- The reasonableness of the parents’ refusal to allow contact
Going to court can be intimidating and uncertain. There are other options, including mediation, to work out a solution such as a schedule for visitation. We will explain your options, help you negotiate a contract outside of court and help you in court if necessary.
In certain extreme cases, you may want to apply for guardianship of your grandchildren. This is normally done in cases where there is the involvement of the child protection authorities, severe alcohol or drug abuse, criminality, abuse or neglect.
Contact Calgary Family Law Associates
We help grandparents in Calgary and surrounding parts of Alberta. Call our lawyers for grandparents’ rights at 587-316-1125, or contact each lawyer individually. You can also fill out our online form to learn how we can help you.