Grandparents can have rights with respect to the issues of custody and access of their grandchild. (For that matter, under the Ontario Children’s Law Reform Act, any person—not just mom or dad—can apply to a court for an order respecting custody of or access to a child.)
More and more frequently, grandparents are bringing court applications seeking access to, or even custody of, a grandchild. A common scenario: the grandparents and the parents have a dispute, and as a consequence, the parents restrict their parents’ access to the grandchild. If you are a grandparent who feels it has become necessary to bring a court proceeding in an attempt to see your grandchild, keep in mind the following general principles:
In short, a grandparent seeking access (or custody) through the judicial system has a bit of an uphill battle; which is not to say that the battle cannot be won. If the Court determines that a positive, meaningful relationship has existed between a grandparent and a child and that the parent in restricting access, is acting arbitrarily, without justification, perhaps even vindictively, a Court may well intervene to reestablish the relationship between child and grandparent.
Blake R. Lyngseth, Ottawa lawyer & mediator. Blogs primarily on issues of Ontario & Canadian family law & estate law.