Grandparents often play an essential role in the life of a child. But many grandparents are deprived of this relationship because they are estranged from their adult children. Such a situation can be devastating for both the grandparent and the child.
Fortunately, in the province of British Columbia, grandparents have some legal rights pertaining to their relationship with grandchildren. In this article, we will explain what those rights are and what options you have when it comes to obtaining access to your grandchildren.
What are grandparent rights?
Grandparent rights is a broad term that refers to a grandparent’s legal right to have visitation with their grandchild and be involved in major decisions regarding the child.
It’s important to note that grandparent rights are not legally protected in all provinces or countries, so it’s important to understand what rights you have in your region.
What rights do grandparents have in BC?
In British Columbia, grandparent rights are not automatically enforced. However, Section 59(2) of the Family Law Act does state that:
“A court may grant contact to any person who is not a guardian, including, without limiting the meaning of “person” in any other provision of this Act or a regulation made under it, to a parent or grandparent.”
In order to be granted contact by the court, a grandparent must submit a petition to the court under the Family Law Act.
What should I do to make sure my petition is successful?
It’s important to note that even if you apply to the court for a contact order, this doesn’t mean it will automatically be granted.
In BC, any grandparent seeking access to a grandchild through the court must prove that it’s in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with their grandparent.
When reviewing grandparent rights cases, the courts will also consider whether:
- The grandparent and grandchild had a strong relationship beyond occasional visits before access was taken away
- The grandchild lived with or spent a lot of time with the grandparents before access was revoked
- One of the child’s parents is deceased, and the grandparents want to ensure that the child maintains a relationship with the deceased parent’s family
- There is no significant reason why the grandparent shouldn’t have a relationship with the grandchild
The importance of working with a family lawyer
If you are a grandparent in Metro Vancouver that is seeking visitation or other rights to your grandchildren, contact our lawyers at Highland Law.
Highland Law is a Surrey-based family law practice with experience representing families in numerous family law matters and will work with you to help maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
Call us today or fill out our contact form to get started.