Applications by Others Withstanding
Do You Have a Right to Continue Your Involvement in a Child’s Life?
Often there are situations where individuals other than the parents of a child would like to know if they have a legal right to continue their involvement in the child’s life. Any separation has a significant impact on the relationships between the child and others, including but not limited to siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It is important for these parties to understand all of the processes in place, to ensure they can maintain the relationship that existed prior to the separation.
There may be circumstances where a child is unable to live with their parent, and as a result another family member (for example an uncle, aunt or sibling) or other nominated person, may replace the parent as the primary caregiver. In some circumstances, it may only be a temporary care agreement until the parent is capable of taking the child back into their own care or, in other cases, it may be an ongoing and permanent arrangement.
What rights do you have as a Grandparent or Kinship Carer?
A grandparent or agreed caregiver may have certain rights (known as ‘standing’) with regard to making Applications to the Court in child matters, in order to ensure they are a part of the child’s care arrangements.
The parents of the child do not necessarily have sole rights to a parenting plan. Grandparents and any person who is ‘concerned’ with the care, welfare or development of the child, are also able to make an Application in this regard. Irrespective of whether an individual believes that they have met the ‘standing’ requirements, it is for the Court to decide whether their involvement in the matter is in the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child is the Court’s principal concern in family law matters and they are bound to consider those interests above all else.
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