In every British Columbia court case involving the welfare of children, judges consider the child’s best interests above the wishes of all other parties. This is true whether the family law issue surrounds a child custody disagreement or a grandparent’s rights to maintain a relationship with a grandchild.
Parent-child relationships have a very strong legal bond, but courts also consider the value of other relationships the child has. Parents choose the types of connections children have with grandparents. However, sometimes this important link becomes weak or broken when the grandchild’s parents divorce.
Grandparents sometimes begin to lose touch with a grandchild with whom they were much closer when the parents were together. In other circumstances, parents limit the time a grandparent and grandchild are together for other reasons such as a family dispute. In both cases, an attempt may be made unsuccessfully to assert grandparents’ rights to establish a connection with a grandchild.
Canadian laws allow grandparents to negotiate with parents for more access to a grandchild. If that attempt fails, attorneys with Peterson Stark Scott can assist grandparents with filing petitions to obtain a court order. There is no guarantee a judge will approve visitations, unless the grandparent can show the child stands to benefit from expanding or resuming the relationship.
The parents’ opinions will count in court, since they have the primary responsibility of caring for a child. A judge may feel that overriding the parents’ desires would be detrimental to a child’s best interests. If a grandparent does make headway in court, the frequency and length of access times will not be equal to that of a parent.
Grandparents who wish to pursue this legal avenue can speak with one of our attorneys to talk about the reasons behind the action they’d like to take and their legal options.