Anyone who has young children knows that there are no real handbooks to help you raise your children…especially when it comes to the children’s grandparents legal rights
Here’s what you need to know about grandparents legal rights in BC:
- Talk it out first. Talk with the grandparents of your children and often you can reach an agreement on how and when they have have visitation or contact with your kids. Children are impressionable so it’s in your child’s best interest if they see their parents and grandparents in an amicable relationship. If, for whatever reason, this is not possible, seek legal advice or rulings.
- If there is conflict between parents and grandparents, the law may side with the parents. To avoid putting children in the middle of turmoil between their parents and grandparents, the courts may deny visitation to grandparents until the conflict ends or turns amicable.
- Parents usually determine the extent of contact with grandparents. The courts hold the custodial parents wishes in the highest regard. However, even though the law dictates that it’s the parents responsibility to raise their children as they see fit, if a child’s safety, well-being, and normal development is at risk by having contact with grandparents or extended family members, the court can issue a ruling or restraining order.
- Grandparents can petition for guardianship or custody of their grandchildren. It is possible for grandparents to ask a court for full guardianship of their grandchildren, but it will only be granted if they can prove the children are not safe or receiving adequate care from their parents. Grandparents will undergo social worker visits and background checks (in addition to other evaluations and follow-ups) to ensure they can create and maintain a safe and nurturing environment for the child.
- Grandparent visitation can be part of divorce proceedings: If you are divorcing from the child’s biological parent, the grandparents’ legal rights regarding contact and visitation can often be included in the divorce agreement.
Above all else, the child’s best interests are pivotal: All guardianship and visitation rulings regarding grandparents are always made in the child’s best interests.
If you have any questions or concerns about grandparents legal rights to their grandchildren, give us a call and we can help advice based on your unique situation.