How Will Grandparents’ Time With The Grandchildren Be Affected By Your Divorce?
Divorce will bring many changes into your life and the lives of your children. One of the things affected by a divorce or separation may be the time that your children used to spend with their grandparents or other members of their extended family. These changes can be caused by several factors, including:
- changes to living arrangements, which may mean that your children are no longer living in close proximity to a grandparent or other close relative
- parenting schedules, which may leave a parent with less time to spend with their children and scheduling in visits with grandparents may not be an immediate priority
- damaged relationships between one or both parents and extended family members, which may leave a parent unwilling to arrange visits between the grandparents and the children.
If you are concerned about how the grandparents’ time with the grandchildren will be affected by your divorce, then our team of Edmonton family law lawyers can help.
What is a contact order?
Depending on the circumstances, once the parents and children get over the upheaval of the divorce, visits with grandparents might resume. However, in situations where the relationship between one or both divorced or separated parents and the grandparents has broken down, a contact order may be necessary.
A contact order is an order from the court that designates time in a child’s schedule to spend with a grandparent or other person with whom the child has a significant relationship.
A contact order is not the same as a parenting order because it is not relating to someone in a parental role. A grandparent or other person with a contact order does not automatically get to make day-to-day decisions relating to the child during contact.
Who can apply for a contact order?
A contact order is available under both the federal Divorce Act, which applies only to married couples who are divorcing, and Alberta’s Family Law Act.
An application for a contact order can be initiated by:
- a parent or guardian of the child (on behalf of the grandparent or other non-parent), or
- a grandparent or other non-parent with whom the child has a significant relationship.
In order for someone other than a parent or guardian of the child to make an application for a contact order, the person must ask permission from the court. This mechanism is in place to prevent unnecessary litigation.
A grandparent, however, does not require the permission of the court to ask for a contact order if the grandparent’s contact with the child has been disrupted by the separation of the child’s parents or the death of one of the child’s parents.
A court will only grant a contact order to a grandparent against the will of the parents in very specific situations. A grandparent must be able to show the court that the order is in the best interests of the child, which can be difficult to prove.
Both parents and grandparents are often concerned about how a divorce will affect the time they spend with their grandchildren. Allow our team of family law professionals to answer all your questions about how the grandparents’ time with the grandchildren will be affected by your divorce. Contact us today!