Grandparent Rights

Family law: The rights of Alberta grandparents

Divorce affects many family members, not just the divorcing couple. The couple’s parents may likely be shocked at the news their children will be divorcing, but their thoughts may likely soon turn to their grandchildren and exactly what their rights are as grandparents. Alberta family law does address grandparents’ access rights.

The child custody situation could determine which set of grandparents the children may be seeing most. The rights to see their grandchildren isn’t automatic for grandparents. Visitation is usually up to the parents unless grandparents have been granted permanent or temporary custody of their grandkids if the parents are found to be unfit to care for their children.

If the children’s parents die and the grandparents were appointed legal guardians, they could apply to adopt their grandchild. In any instance, a court will always look at what is in the best interests of the children. If the child is 12 years of age or older, a court will take into consideration the child’s wishes as well in issues regarding their custody — even if children express the desire to live with grandparents or a legal guardian.

The legalities of family law can be complex and may need the expertise of an Alberta lawyer who has experience in family law issues. A lawyer can suggest what steps to take next when considering a divorce settlement which would include child custody issues. It is most prudent to keep things out of a court room if at all possible and a lawyer will work with his or her client to try to iron out divorce details without the litigation process.

Source: findlaw.ca, “Do grandparents have legal rights to their grandchildren?“, Accessed on Oct. 1, 2017

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