Navigating complicated family relationships can be harder if there are grandchildren involved. Alberta’s Family Law Act can help provide insight as to where a grandparent stands when it comes to their rights.
As a grandparent, you want what's best for your grandchild. So what happens if you've been denied access to them? In Alberta, concerned grandparents have options. Learn more about your rights and how protect your relationship with your grandchildren.
What Grandparents Need To Know About Visitation Rights
Every family is different, as is the dynamic between grandparents and their grandchildren. When it comes to child custody, grandparents often feel left in the dark. While parents are naturally the key players when it comes to decided who will care for the children, it is important to recognize the role that grandparents have in a child's life.
Do Grandparents Have a Right to See Their Grandchildren?
Simply put, no. Alberta's Family Law Act does not make specific reference to access rights for grandparents. In other words, a grandparent is not legally entitled to a relationship with their grandchildren. With that being said, if a grandparent is being denied access to their grandchildren, there are options.
A Grandparent's Options
Preserving your right to see your grandchildren may require some work. If you suspect that you may lose access, it is important to be proactive and take the right steps to help right the course.
The relationship that you have with your child and their spouse is often a significant factor in your access to grandchildren. For some families, a divorce or separation between the grandchild's parents can sour the relationship with in-laws. A son-in-law may decide that he doesn't want his child seeing his ex's parents out of anger, resentment, or spite. For the affected grandparents, it can seem especially unfair and leave them feeling powerless.
Maintaining a good relationship with your grandchild's parents is important. Avoid offering unsolicited advice and resist taking sides during disagreements. If you are unable to contact the child's parents, keep detailed records of the efforts that you have made to get in touch.
If you have a damaged relationship with your child, their spouse, or both, take time to consider whether it can be repaired. Even in instances where you believe you were in the right, it may be worth setting differences aside for the greater good.
Court As A Last Resort
If efforts to work directly with your grandchild's parents do not work, you may need to consider alternate courses of action. As a grandparent, you may be able to apply to the court to receive a contact order which could help facilitate getting the access you want.
Family dynamics are often complex. In some cases, especially if there is concern about a child's welfare, it may be best to get professional help. A family lawyer who is experienced in grandparents' visitation rights can provide legal advice and help you determine the best way to proceed.