What rights do I have to see my grandchild. My son and his wife seperated sometime ago. My son is not working and hasn't for 3 years. There has never been any child support paid but that was the agreement between them. He had his son every weekend and school holidays or when ever it was convenient for his mother to send him to his father. Now that my grandson is 13 she is defying his father access to his son. I am a widow and when my husband died I gave my sons wife over 12,000.00 to put aside incase my grandson needed anything or she did. This was 2 1/2 years ago. I also thought it would make up for the time my son wasn't working. I just wanted to make sure my grandson would get anything he needed. Whether it was clothing or for going into any sports activities. My husband and I bought everything for our grandson when he was little. He spent every weekend at our home and now I feel she is using our grandson against his dad but is not thinking that our grandson is missing out of seeing his grandmother and uncle. Is there anything legal I can do.
Province/Territory relating to question: Ontario
Nothing so far. I don't really want to talk to his mother because it will only cause more problems for my son. But this is getting out of hand.
There are no automatic rights to access for a grandparent. It is possible to apply for a court order seeking an order or schedule of times. Whether or not this is ordered will depend in each case as to what the court sees is best for the child. Determining the best interests of the child is the overriding issue in all such cases, not determining parent's rights versus grandparent's rights.
Generally if you have been involved the life of the child for many years, and there is no clear risk of your contact with the child, then a court will see it as a positive relationship that is worthwhile to preserve and continue. The court will take into account the reasons that a custodial parent is denying access to a grandparent, but if the court thinks that those are not reasonable, or it is a short-sighted or not well-thought out reason, then the court can overrule the parent's wishes.
Generally, the court does not want to see different applications coming from all sides of the family about children. The main participants in a case about custody and access are the parents, and often a court will say that a grandparent's time to grandchildren will come through their own child, rather than trying to make a separate court order dealing with just the grandparents. Having separate orders would make the matter too complicated. So a court here may not want a separate court application from you or may decline a separate court order dealing with just your access, and instead say that you will be able to have access during your son's time with the child.
Where grandparent's are able to apply to the court and get an order is if their own child is not able or willing to apply to the court, such as being disabled. Or there has been a falling out between the grandparent and child, and so a separate order is needed. As those are not the cases here, there is a good chance a court would decline to make a separate order for your time, and instead just say that you and your son can work out times when he has the children.
You son is certainly able to apply to the court to seek orders to ensure he is getting contact with his daughter. But if he can't or won't take this to court for some reason and so you are caught with not seeing the children, then you could bring your own court application.
You can also try to settle matters with the mother out of court, such as negotiations with her, with or without lawyers, or attending mediation or collaborative law sessions with her. This takes some willingness on her part to meet and try to discuss compromise, and if that is impossible then court is the option.
It is not mandatory for you to have a lawyer for this, but an experienced family law lawyer will be of assistance. We cannot give names of lawyers through this site, but you can contact the Law Society of Upper Canada, which has a free lawyer referral program. You will be given several names of lawyers, and part of the program is that they give you an initial interview at no charge, so you can learn more and decide whether or not you wish to hire any of them, and you are free to hire none of them if you do not want to. The number is XXXXX(NNN) NNN-NNNN or(NNN) NNN-NNNNin the GTA.
with over 15 years experience.