Divorce, common law separation and/or death of a spouse impacts not only the immediate family, but the extended family as well.
Unfortunately, grandparents sometimes experience the loss of contact with their grandchildren because of these events. Grandparents’ rights in Ontario exist so that they, and the children, can enjoy a healthy relationship.
In some cases, grandparents are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren as a result of a parent’s death or incapacity due to substance abuse, mental illness or incarceration. In these cases, grandparents have more rights and should have a Court Order in place outlining their ability to make decisions on the children’s behalf when the guardians are not present.
Grandparents can rely on the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Divorce Act for “parenting orders” with children.
Section 21(2) of the Children’s Law Reform Act provides that the Court will only take into account the children’s best interests when making a parenting Order or contact Order. When determining what is in the children’s best interests, the Court will give primary consideration to the children’s physical, emotional and psychological safety, security, and well-being.
When considering what is in the children’s best interests, Courts will look at the specific relationship between the grandparents and the children at hand. If a meaningful relationship between the grandparents and the children does not exist and the parents do not agree to allow contact, the chance of success is diminished substantially. When making their determination, the Courts will consider factors such as:
- Closeness of the relationship;
- The children’s mature views and wishes;
- If the contact is being arbitrary and/or unreasonably withheld; and
- The parents’ wishes.
At Noori Law, we are proficient in advocating for grandparents’ rights and will be happy to assist you. Contact us now!