The right to visit a child and to be informed about the child’s health, education, and welfare.
The legal right to have responsibility for, and make decisions about a child.
Yes, the Children’s Law Act of Newfoundland & Labrador specifies that grandparents have a legal right to apply to court for access to their grandchildren.
The judge's decision will be based on what is in the "best interests" of the child. Grandparents can be a source of love and guidance to their grandchildren. Courts have recognized that maintaining relationships with extended family is often in a child’s best interests.
The judge will consider many other factors when deciding whether it is in a grandchild’s best interest to spend time with a grandparent. Factors might include the emotional ties between the grandchild and the grandparent, the ability of the grandparent to provide guidance and support, the permanence and stability of the child’s environment and the preferences of the child. The court will consider other factors which are relevant to the issue of what is in the child’s best interest. The court will also consider whether the individual applying for access may pose a danger to the child.
Custody refers to the legal right to have responsibility for and make decisions about a child. The Children's Law Act of Newfoundland & Labrador specifies that grandparents have a legal right to apply to court for custody of their grandchildren.
A decision about custody, like a decision about access, is made based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider numerous factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child including the grandparent’s ability to parent the child and to provide a long term home.
In custody cases, maintaining a consistent environment for the child is often a primary concern. Grandparents are most often granted custody where the grandparent has been the primary caregiver to a child, or where a grandparent has been a significant presence in the child’s life and the primary caregiver is no longer able to have custody of the child.
Not necessarily. It may be possible to resolve a conflict over custody or access without going to court. Going to court can be financially and emotionally draining. It may make family conflict worse and can create a stressful environment for the entire family, including children.
Other options include negotiation or mediation. If you and the parents of your grandchild can come to an agreement, this can be finalized in writing and filed with the court.
In mediation an independent person will work with the parties to try to come to an agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful you can then go to court to resolve the issues.
Family Justice Services (FJS) provides free mediation services in custody and access disputes. If you have not filed a court application, this service can be accessed by filling out a Request for Service Form which you can receive by contacting an FJS office. The form must be completed and signed by both parties to the dispute.
Alternatively, if you do decide to file an application for access or custody with the court, your file will be forwarded to FJS. FJS will work with you to try to mediate a settlement before the court process begins.