Grandparents’ Rights

While Alberta law operates on the premise that parents have a right to relationship with their children and vice versa, it does not assume that grandparents and grandchildren have a right to a relationship with each other. This does not mean, however, that grandparents do not have any recourse if they are being prevented from spending time with their grandchildren.

Under the Family Law Act, grandparents can apply for a contact order, which will allow them to spend time with their grandchildren. Grandparents can apply for this order when all of the following three conditions are met:

  1. The guardians are the parents of the children; and
  2. The guardians are separated or one of the guardians has died; and
  3. The grandparents’ contact with the children has been interrupted by this separation or death.

If any of the above conditions are not met, there is a preliminary step that must be taken before applying for the contact order. This step is an application for “leave” to apply for a contact order. This means that grandparents must make a 1st application asking the courts for permission to make the 2nd application for a contact order. In these types of applications, it may be difficult for grandparents to obtain a contact order unless there are serious concerns with respect to the guardians’ parenting or unless it can be shown that the children are suffering due to a lack of contact with their grandparents. This is because courts tend to say that parents or guardians are in the best position to make decision for their children.

At Global Equity Law, we are invested in helping you establish contact as collaboratively as possible. We believe in the importance of avoiding adversarial court processes if at all possible. If you are a grandparent looking to establish contact with your grandchildren, contact us today to set-up a consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers.

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