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Ontario Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers

What Are Grandparents’ Rights in Canada?

Traditionally, grandparents have not been granted clear and specific rights regarding contact in Ontario; but that has changed. Grandparents’ rights are dependant upon whether the matter is governed by the Children’s Law Reform Act or the Divorce Act. The Children’s Law Reform Act applies where the parents of the child were never married or have decided to proceed by way of a separation rather than a divorce while the Divorce Act applies where the parents have already obtained a divorce or are seeking a divorce.

Grandparents’ Rights under the Children’s Law Reform Act

In 2016, the passage of Bill 34 (Section 21(1) of the Children’s Law Reform Act) gave grandparents the right to make an argument for access during custody disputes. The courts must consider grandparents’ rights in these matters, while also ruling in the best interests of the child.

Are you a grandparent looking to fight for your right to custody of or access to your grandchild? An Ontario grandparents’ rights lawyer at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. can provide the insight you need to make an informed decision about moving forward with a case. There are sensitive and challenging matters from legal and emotional perspectives alike, and we will use our experience and skill to most effectively forward your interests.

Learn more! Call (905) 581-7222 to arrange a free consultation at one of our offices in Ontario, including Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, and Oakville.

Grandparents’ Rights & the Best Interests of the Child

Bill 34 does not automatically grant a grandparent the right to access to a grandchild. It will be in the discretion of the court to determine whether granting access/custody to a grandparent will be in the best interests of the child in question, taking into account the specific circumstances at hand. A family lawyer can effectively present your case to the court to show how granting custody or access can benefit the child.

According to the Children’s Law Reform Act, the following factors must be considered when determining what is in the child’s best interests:

  • Affection, love, and emotional ties that exist between:
    • The child and the party/parties requesting access or custody;
    • Other family members currently living with the child; and
    • Other people involved in the upbringing and care of the child.
  • The preferences of the child if these can be determined.
  • How long the child has lived in a stable environment.
  • Each party’s (parent, grandparent, or other party requesting custody or access) ability and willingness to provide for the child’s needs and to act as a parent, including
    • Their proposed custody or access plan;
    • The stability and permanence of their family unit; and
    • Their biological relationship or adoptive relationship with the child

Grandparents’ Rights under the Divorce Act

If the matter is governed by the Divorce Act meaning that the parents have either already divorced or are pursuing a divorce, grandparent rights can be determined by granting parenting-time and decision-making responsibility pursuant to a parenting order or contact pursuant to a contact order. Pursuant to the Divorce Act amendments that came into effect as of July 2020, both spouses, parents and any person currently in or seeking a parental role in the life of a child can apply for a parenting order. However, pursuant to section 16.1(3) of the Divorce Act, non-spouses will have to seek leave of the court to obtain a parenting order. Additionally, section 16.5(1) of the Divorce Act allows courts to make an order providing for contact between that person and a child. In determining whether to make a contact order, the court will consider several factors including whether contact between the person and the child could otherwise occur during one of the spouses parenting time.

As with a parenting order, the governing principle for granting a contact order is a determination of what is in the best interests of the child by referencing the factors set out in section 16(3) of the Divorce Act.

According to the Divorce Act, the following factors must be taken into consideration when determining what it is the child’s best interest

  • The child’s needs, given the child’s age and stage of development, such as the child’s need for stability;
  • The nature and strength of the child’s relationship with each spouse, each of the child’s siblings and grandparents and any other person who plays an important role in the child’s life
  • Each spouse’s willingness to support the development and maintenance of the child’s relationship with the other spouse
  • The history of the care of the child
  • The child’s views and preferences, giving due weight to the child’s age and maturity, unless they cannot be ascertained
  • The child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage, including Indigenous upbringing and heritage
  • Any plans for the child’s care
  • The ability and willingness of each person in respect of whom the order would apply to care for and meet the needs of the child
  • The ability and willingness of each person in respect of whom the order would apply to communicate and cooperate, in particular with one another, on matters affecting the child
  • Any family violence and its impact on, among other things, the ability and willingness of any person who engaged in the family violence to care for and meet the needs of the child and the appropriateness of making an order that would require persons in respect of whom the order would apply to cooperate on issues affecting the child
  • Any civil or criminal proceeding, order, condition, or measure that is relevant to the safety, security and well-being of the child

For more guidance and information, call (905) 581-7222.

Meet Our Dedicated Team of Lawyers

Over a Century of Collective Experience
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    Andrew Feldstein

    Founder

    Andrew Feldstein graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1992. Prior to focusing exclusively on family law, Andrew’s legal practice covered many different areas, including corporate commercial. One of Andrew’s fundamental objectives is to achieve those goals mutually and collaboratively, as set out by him and his client.

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    Deleta Grandy

    Lawyer

    Deleta Grandy obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2012, where she graduated with Honours. She completed her legal studies at Western Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 2016.

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    Jeff Hart

    Lawyer

    Jeff obtained his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Studies from McMaster University before attending law school at Queen’s.

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    Daphna Schwartz

    Lawyer

    Location: Markham Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously ...
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    Nick Slinko

    Lawyer

    Location: Vaughan Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and ...
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    Anna Troitschanski

    Lawyer

    Anna Troitschanski joined the team at Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2012. Prior to that, she practised Family Law at a boutique Newmarket firm. Her experience covers all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and division of property.
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    Veronica Yeung

    Lawyer

    Veronica Yeung joined the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. as a summer student in 2014 and returned as an articling student in 2015. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Veronica was welcomed to the team as an associate lawyer.

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    Shana Gordon-Katz

    Lawyer

    Shana joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as an articling student in 2017. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2018, Shana was welcomed back to the firm as an associate. While completing her articles, Shana assisted with legal matters covering all areas of family law.

  • Shazia  Hafiji Photo
    Shazia Hafiji

    Lawyer

    Shazia Hafiji joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as a summer student in 2016 and returned as an articling student in 2017. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in 2018, Shazia returned to the firm as an associate lawyer.

  • Lucy  D'Ercole Photo
    Lucy D'Ercole

    Lawyer

    Lucy D’Ercole joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as a summer student in 2017 and returned as an articling student in 2018, during which she gained valuable experience in all areas of family law. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in 2019, Lucy was welcomed back to the firm as an associate lawyer.
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    Joy Pura

    Lawyer

    Joy Pura completed her legal studies and obtained a Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa. Prior to that, she completed ...
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    Rachel Zweig

    Lawyer

    Rachel joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C as a Summer Student in 2019 and returned as an Articling Student in 2020-2021. ...
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