Traditionally, grandparents have not been granted clear and specific rights regarding custody and access in Ontario. With the 2016 passage of Bill 34, (Section 21 (1) of the Children’s Law Reform Act) however, grandparents now have 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.
If you are a grandparent and want to know about 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. These 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.
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 a 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 home 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.
For more guidance and information, call (905) 581-7222.