What is grandparent mediation?
A relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is precious, and it can be heart-breaking if you are separated or estranged. However, for many reasons, this estrangement can occur. As a grandparent, you may wonder, “do I have any right to see my grandchildren?”
Well, simply put – yes. While grandparents have no automatic right to a relationship with grandchildren, grandparents are expressly permitted in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to apply to the Family Court for orders relating to their grandchild, specifically for their grandchild to live with or spend time with them.
One way to do this is with grandparent mediation. Grandparent mediation is about reaching and agreeing with the children’s parent(s) about the relationship between grandparents and the grandchildren, which can include visitation, education, holidays and living arrangements.
Adelaide Family Mediation will help both parties reach an agreement that all parties are comfortable with. Initially, you will discuss your matter with your mediator in an Intake and Assessment meeting. The mediator will take notes, explain the mediation process, and tell you about the different types of mediation available.
Once it’s decided that mediation is suitable, Adelaide Family Mediation will invite the parent(s) to mediation. If they accept, they will attend an Intake and Assessment, and once both parties have completed an assessment, we will put a plan together for your joint mediation session. This can be online, face to face, or in person.
If it turns out that mediation is not suitable or proceeding, Adelaide Family Mediation will provide a section 60i certificate you can apply to court.
What happens if we don’t reach an agreement?
If you can’t reach an agreement through mediation to see your grandchildren, you have the right to ask the family court for consent. Adelaide Family Mediation will provide a section 60i certificate so you can apply to court. The court will consider your connection to the children and their relationship with you and will decide whether you can be in contact with your grandchildren and, if so, what kind of contact would be most beneficial for them. If you have a close relationship with your grandchildren and have details of that relationship, it is more likely that the court will make an order.
Do I need a lawyer?
A lawyer is not required; you can go to court by yourself. However, you should consider legal advice or support from different organisations that may be able to assist navigate the process.
Sadly, many grandparents deal with separation from their grandchildren due to divorce or when the relationship with their own children may have fallen apart. While it might be your first instinct to go straight to a family lawyer, your first stop should be Adelaide Family Mediation. Our services are affordable, professional and focused on the best interests of the children.