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Grandparents Rights in QLD

grandparents rights in QLD

Grandparents are an integral part of any family dynamic, and in a society where familial breakdowns are common it’s important to understand your legal rights.

The relationship between a child and a grandparent is irreplaceable, and while not explicitly mentioned in Australian legislation, there are a multitude of things to recognise when striving to maintain this relationship.

This article will explore grandparents rights in QLD in depth and outline any conflict that may arise.

If you are in a legal situation and unsure of your rights it is always best to seek legal advice.

The team at Justice Family Lawyers are available to chat and can help you discuss all your options.

Under The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) the legislation does not give the elderly an immediate right to see their grandkids, however gaining grandparents rights in QLD is entirely possible.

In 2006 amendments were made to the Family Law Act 1975 that recognised the importance of a grandparents role in a child’s life. Under section 60B(2)(b) of the Act it provides that;

“…Children have the right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development (such as grandparents and other relatives)”.

These principles are applicable to all situations unless it would be contrary to the best interest of the child. Depending on each individual situation a family court judge may decide to authorise relations between the child and their grandparent or to refuse ties between the two. This article will guide you through grandparents rights in QLD and how to navigate the complexities of grandparents rights in Australia.

Do grandparents in QLD have rights to see their grandchild? 

Grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren in QLD and to accommodate their grandchildren. They also have the right to exchange correspondence with them and to participate in their education.

They have these rights as long as they do not take the place of the parent’s rights. These rights will remain valid through the event of parental divorce, in the case of a child born outside of a marriage and if the grandchild is adopted.

In some situations it may be authorised that a grandparent will gain the custody of their grandchild/children in the even of a parental divorce, and if the child and/or children are unable to stay at the home of both parents. In this case the grandparents must respect parental visitation rights. A judge may only withdraw these rights for severe reasons in QLD.

In the instance of a conflicting scenario grandparents can be stopped from having a relationship with their grandchildren.

Unfortunately, grandparents do not have an automatic right to have a relationship with their grandchild, however anyone who has an ongoing relationship with a child or any other person who can show that they have an integral role in the care, welfare and development of a child (including grandparents) can apply to the court for a parenting order.

A parenting order is one that allows for time and communication with a child, and it will be up to the court to decide what the order will stipulate based on what is in the child’s best interest.

If you are in a situation where you are being refused access to your grandchild and/or grandchildren your first point of call should be to seek legal advice. Going to court should be a last option. Before you move forward it is in your best interest to try to come to an agreement with the parents about how and when you can have contact with your grandchild and/or grandchildren. It is in the majority’s best interest to resolve disputes without going to court and the Family Law Act 1975 actually requires people to try family dispute resolution before anything else.

This is integral in maintaining your rights as a grandparent as it allows for a professionally trained individual to assess the situation in order to reach the best outcome. This can sometimes be known as mediation.

If a grandparent wishes to apply for a court order mediation should be tried first. If mediation is success the agreement should then be written up in a parenting plan or consent order which is able to also be lodged with the court.

Going to court should always be the last option as it can be stressful and expensive. Before you do anything you should talk to the parents and try come to an agreement about how and when your grandchildren see or have contact with you.

Not only is it in everyone’s interest to resolve disputes without taking legal action, but the Family Law Act requires people to try family dispute resolution first. Family dispute resolution is where an independent person who is trained to help families discuss their differences tries to help you explore possible solutions with each other. This is also called mediation or conciliation.

If the mediation is successful the agreement about the time you are to spend with your grandchild can be written up in a Parenting Plan or consent orders, which can then be lodged with the court.

Grandparents can also be granted a court order which will allow them to see and spend time with their grandchildren. These orders are legally binding orders and will direct parties to perform an action to benefit the person who filed for a court order.

What are grandparents rights in QLD when it gets to court?

If you have decided to apply to the court for an order to spend time or communicate with your grandchild, you may only do so with a certificate from an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner, to show that mediation was attempted. If you do not have this there are monetary penalties, so it’s important to seek legal advice if you unsure.

If you are in a situation where there has been or there is an imminent risk of abuse or family violence the court will waive the certificate to be un-necessary. A certificate is also not necessary if the matter is urgent or if any party is unable to participate due to serious illness or disability.

Justice Family Lawyers can help you with advice about how strong your case is and what forms and documents you will need to support your case. To open a case, you can apply once talking to a legal professional, at either the Federal Circuit and Family Court Of Australia or at the Local Court. 

If a case goes to court there will then be a hearing and the court will decide what outcome is best suited for the best interests of the child. The court will take the following into consideration when assessing what the best interests of the child are:

  • The benefit of a child having a meaningful relationship with both parents and/or grandparents
  • The need to protect the child from harm (this outweighs the above in necessity)
  • The views of the child (this will depend on their age and maturity)
  • The effect of any change to the current situation
  • The practical difficulties and expenses involved in spending time and communicating with a grandparent
  • The capacity of each grandparent, it may include health, age and financial circumstances
  • The maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the child and of the grandparents
  • If the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the child’s right to enjoy Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture
  • Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family
  • Any family violence orders

22 thoughts on “Grandparents Rights in QLD”


    1. Hi Josephine, we would have to gather some more information before we can advise. What are the parents saying? Why are they withholding contact? What is your relationship like with your granddaughter?

  2. Where do I obtain Family Dispute Resolution can you help me I have two grandchildren that I have had a close relationship with and the past twelve months I can hardly see them only a hour in the past three months. The parents will not engage in conversation at all and work towards any resolution it is heartbreaking

  3. Hi I’m a grandparent, I’ve been caring for 2 grandchildren 4&5 for 2 years now under docs parenting plan, due to drug abuse, mother has come and taken them from school, a recovery order sent which was ignored, won’t agree to consolidation or mediation & has blocked phone,what can I do.

  4. Hi!
    Grandparents is withholding our 1yr old son after a sleep over was permitted. How do I recover / have my child back home?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, if the child’s grandparent is withholding your child without your consent, the first step would be to try communicating with them directly to reach an amicable resolution. If this is not possible, it is strongly advised to seek legal advice from a family lawyer to discuss the best way forward in your specific circumstances. If you believe your child is being unlawfully withheld or you are concerned for the welfare of the child, you may also contact the police.

  5. Hi my daughter in law says we can only have contact with our grandchild when he spends time with his father (our son ) . She keeps pulling contact so our son can’t see him . How can we maintain our relationship with our grandson if she keeps doing this ? Can we obtain a court order ?

    1. Grandparents can apply for a court order to spend time with or communicate with their grandchildren. This process involves understanding your legal rights, potentially seeking legal advice, attempting mediation with the child’s parents, and, if necessary, filing an application with the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court for custody or visitation orders​​.

  6. Hi, My wife and I have stopped visitation to my parents. This is based on manipulation and controlling behaviour, basically all your domestic violence indicators. I am a police officer and my wife is a medical doctor. My parents have threatened our careers to lodge complaints with the medical broad and Ethical Standards Commands. We aren’t concerned with this process as we haven’t down anything negligible. Given the brief circumstances and the information I have I provided, I believe we are protecting our children from domestic violence and therefore in our rights to withhold out children from contracting my parents.

    1. Hi, you have the right to protect your children from potential harm, including exposure to domestic violence. If your parents decide to take legal action in response, the court will consider the children’s best interests, which includes assessing any claims of domestic violence and the impact on the children’s wellbeing.

  7. I have blocked my daughter’s Grandmother as a precaution against her lies and manipulation. I grew up in a home that was very violent and I was emotionally neglected. What rights does she have to my daughter?

    1. Hi Yvonne, under Australian family law the importance of children’s relationships with their extended family, including grandparents is recognised. Grandparents can apply for court orders to spend time with or have contact with their grandchildren. However, the child’s best interests remain the paramount consideration in legal decisions. Should the grandmother seek such orders, you will have the opportunity to respond and detail your concerns regarding the child’s welfare and best interests.

  8. Hello. What can I do with regards to a grandaughter who is 8 years old. Her parents not legally married separated when she was just 3 years old. Since 2 years she and her mother stayed with us and we have been taking care of her when her mother leaves for work. Recently her mother met a guy whom she would like to live with in a city far from us. We have not met that guy and my daughter thinks he is trustworthy. My dilemma is my grandaughter is fragile and needs all the support and care to protect her. Her parents’ separation was already traumatic and has adversely affected her. Though she has now accepted that her parents could not be together again her psychological development is at stake. We are aware of cases of molestation of kids and this is what we fear. The child is vulnerable to threats and abuse. I have been asking my daughter to let the child reach until she is at least 12 years old when she is more mature and can take care of herself before she decides to bring her daughter uproot her from the environment she is used to. But she is adamant that it is her right to have her being the mother. I am not at peace leaving my grandaughter to a step- father who is said to be an abused victim himself and coming from a dysfunctional family. My grandaughter is torn of going with her mother and live under the care of someone she just met 2x. My grandaughter does not want to leave the family she has known since she was small. If my daughter sees no reason for taking precaution for the welfare of her daughter- can we as grandparents file custody of our grandaughter in this situation? Please enlighten us the process. Thanks.

    1. Hi Lily, if you are concerned about your granddaughter’s welfare and believe that her current living arrangements may not be in her best interest, you can apply to the family court for orders seeking custody. However, the court will not simply remove a child from their parents’ care unless there is sufficient evidence to support that it would be in the child’s best interest due to risk factors. To understand more about this process and to seek advice on the strength of your case, please get in touch with our office directly.

  9. Seeking some advice for my friend in her 50’s with two young grandchildren……..her son is currently in jail and it now looks as though his partner (and mother of the two grandkids), will also be jailed due to related charges. She is preparing herself to take on the care of these two kids indefinitely, whilst both parents are incarcerated. Her concern is though……what happens if there is a medical emergency with one of the children – does she have the right to make choices for their health and wellbeing if there isn’t any formal guardianship in place? For reasons like this, should she be applying for some form of formal guardianship or does this private, kinship-care arrangement suffice? If she needs something formal, does she have to apply directly to the courts or would she contact Child Safety and go through that channel? Important to note too that there is no strained relationship between herself and her son and partner. Also, this friend is very capable of caring for these two children with no risk factors present.

    1. Hi Lise, without formal recognition as the children’s primary caregiver, your friend may lack the legal authority to make significant decisions for them. To obtain this authority, she can apply to the family court for an order granting her parental responsibility. It is advisable for her to seek legal advice from an experienced family lawyer to assist in navigating this process.

  10. If child services take my 7yr old granddaughter away from her mother does that mean I the grandmother, will not be able to see her as well?

    1. As the grandparent, you may be able to seek visitation rights or even be considered as a potential placement option for your granddaughter if the court determines this to be in the child’s best interest. It’s advisable to seek detailed advice from a family lawyer to understand your legal rights and the proper process to maintain a relationship with your granddaughter.

  11. Hello, if grandparents take divorced parents to mediation after final consent orders that already provides time for them to spend with the (4 low functioning special needs) children, (the grandmother was there in the room and consented to the time); and one parent (her son) agrees she should have more time and the other parent does not (which was all documented through the original court case), what would happen in this instance? would the grandparent then file for orders against both her son and his ex wife and we would all have to go to court all over again?

    1. Given that the current arrangement is enforced by existing consent orders, it may be difficult to revise the orders unless there is evidence of a significant change in circumstances since the orders were made or it can be demonstrated that the arrangement is not in the child’s best interests.It would be advisable to consult with a family lawyer before initiating further proceedings to determine the strength of the case.

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