Grandparents have a special bond with their grandchildren, one that is often filled with love, support, and guidance. Unfortunately, during times of parental separation, divorce, or death, this bond can be disrupted, and grandparents may find themselves uncertain of their legal rights to see their grandchildren. In British Columbia, the Family Law Act gives grandparents the right to seek an order to access their grandchildren.
What are the Legal Rights of Grandparents in BC? Do They Have the Rights for Visitation?
In BC, grandparents have the right to apply to the court for an order of guardianship, access, or contact with their grandchildren. The court will take into consideration the best interests of the child, as well as the existing relationships between the grandparents and the other parties involved.
If the court grants an order, the grandparents will be allowed to have visitation with their grandchildren and may also have rights to make decisions regarding the child’s care and upbringing. Grandparents may also be able to apply for custody or guardianship of the child, although this is rare.
What are the Factors Affecting the Legal Rights of Grandparents in BC?
In British Columbia, the Family Law Act takes a mixed approach regarding cases where grandparents seek contact time with grandchildren. The primary consideration is always what is in the best interests of the child. There is no automatic presumption that contact with grandparents is in the best interests of the child, so the burden to prove that contact time is beneficial to the child falls on the grandparents.
When deciding whether or not to grant a grandparent contact time with a grandchild, the court will consider a variety of factors, including the quality of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the impact of the contact on the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing, and the impact of the contact on the relationship between the parent and child.
Another factor that affects the legal rights of grandparents in BC is the relationship between the grandparent and parents of the children. Generally, the court will look at the existing relationship between the grandparent and parents, as well as any other relevant facts, to determine whether granting access rights to the grandparent is in the best interest of the children.
If the grandparent has a good relationship with the parents, then the court is more likely to grant access rights. However, if the relationship between the grandparent and parents is hostile, then the court may be less likely to grant access rights.
Ultimately, the court will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. Grandparents need to remember that the court’s main priority is the well-being of the child, and that any decision made will be based on this priority.
The Bottom Line: The Importance of Understanding Your Legal Rights to Visitation as a Grandparent
As a grandparent, understanding your legal rights to visitation is essential. Not only can it help you maintain a close relationship with your grandchild, but it can also protect your rights as a grandparent in the event of a dispute.
At Dreyer and Associates, our family law lawyers in Langley are dedicated to providing clients with the support and guidance they need to navigate the legal system. We have a team of experienced lawyers skilled in all areas of family law, including grandparents’ rights. For more information on how we can help you, contact us today.