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  • Writer's pictureDannielle Wright

What are the rights of grandparents in family law matters?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Section 60B of the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”) recognises a child’s universal right to spend regular time and maintain communication with both parents and other significant individuals in their lives. Notably, grandparents are expressly included in this category as they are typically considered people who are significant to a child’s care, welfare and development. However, in the circumstances where a rift has arisen between the parents and grandparents, navigating and maintaining regular communication may be difficult.

The Child's Best Interests

Whilst children have a right to spend time and have a relationship with their grandparent, it is contingent on it being in the child's best interests. Section 60CC of the Act outlines the various factors that the Court takes into consideration when determining a child’s best interest. The primary considerations encompass the following:

1. The advantages of the child maintaining a relationship with their grandparents;

2. Safeguarding the child from any physical or psychological harm;

3. The quality of the bond between the child and grandparent;

4. A grandparent's capacity to cater to the child's emotional and intellectual needs;

5. The probable impact of change on the child; and

6. The practical challenges and expenses associated with the grandchild spending time with and communicating with a grandparent.


Court proceedings should be viewed as a last resort, and mediation or family dispute resolution services may be a more suitable avenue to resolve these sorts of disputes. Mediation may also assist in preserving the relationship between the parties and mitigate further conflict. The Court also requires evidence that all parties have made a genuine effort to resolve the matter through mediation or family dispute resolution, with an exception if there is an urgency or a risk of harm to the children.

Court Intervention

If alternative methods of dispute resolution prove to be ineffective, a grandparent may apply to the Court for parenting orders.

A parenting order constitutes a set of directives issued by the court pertaining to specific parenting arrangements for a child. This order can be established through the agreement of both parents and grandparents (Consent Orders). It can also be obtained if the parents obstruct the development of the relationship between the grandparents and grandchild.

If you are a grandparent seeking information about your rights to engage with your grandchildren in Australia, please do not hesitate in contacting one of our family lawyers on (03) 9311 8911.

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