You can apply for a Parenting Order of a child whom you are not the parent of, if you are concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child. The Court will only grant an Order if they believe it to be in the best interest of the child.
The law recognises the importance of a child (or children) having a relationship with grandparents, including after the child’s parents have separated. The Family Law Act 1975 recognises a child has the right to spend time and communicate with their parents, and other people important to them. If a child is unable to live with their parents- someone in their extended family or a family friend may be able to become their primary carer, this is called Kinship care.
In some circumstances a child may be living with the grandparent pursuant to an informal arrangement within the family. This agreement can be formalised with a Parenting Order by Consent.
In such circumstances where the child’s parent is unwilling, unable or lacks the capacity to care for the child, the Court may grant custody to the grandparent/s. The Court may confer on the grandparent, Parental Responsibility for that child. This means that the grandparent will have all the legal authority, power, duty, and responsibility a parent usually has in relation to a child. Being granted Parental Responsibility allows the grandparent to make decisions relating to the child’s care, welfare and development such as the child’s schooling, health, living arrangements, and religion- without needing to consult the parents.
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