How To Apply For Grandparents’ Rights In Ontario?

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In Ontario, grandparents don’t have special rights but they can seek access rights to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren. Access rights can include regular visits, phone calls, or even virtual communication. The court will decide on the basis of the existing relationship between the grandparents and the child, the child’s preferences (if they are old enough to express them), and its impact on the child’s well-being.

How Does Grandparents’ Rights Work in Ontario? 

In Ontario, grandparents do not have an automatic right to access their grandchildren. However, the Family Law Act allows grandparents to apply for access rights if it serves the best interests of the child. The court’s primary concern is the child’s well-being, and any decision made will reflect that priority.

If the court believes it could harm the child’s emotional or physical health. That’s why you must present a strong case to the court. 

Grandparents play a positive role in a child’s life. They can teach kids, support parents in their day to day life, and can meet their emotional and financial needs. Any arguments you make shouldn’t be untrue and cause damage to the child’s existing relationship with their parents. 

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Steps to Apply for Grandparents’ Rights

1. Gather Information and Documentation

To prove your relationship with your grandchild, you should collect evidence like photographs, letters, and testimonies from people who can vouch for the positive relationship. You’ll need to fill out two forms – Form 8 Application (General) and Form 35.1 Affidavit (decision-making responsibility, parenting time, contact) and submit it to the court clerk. You’re needed to attend a mandatory information session that talks about family law issues and processes involved. 

2. Consult a Family Lawyer

You can do this process all by yourself or hire an experienced family law firm in Brampton. They will help you understand your rights, prepare your application, and represent you in court. They’ll also guide you on the best approach for your case. 

3. Serve Application

Hand over a copy of all documents to someone to hand deliver it to the other party. You must file a proof of delivery called an affidavit of service with the court. It CAN’T be you and any documents delivered by you will be considered invalid. 

4. Attend Mediation or Court Hearings

In many cases, the court may suggest mediation to resolve the issue amicably. If mediation is unsuccessful, you will need to attend court hearings where both parties can present their case. The judge will consider all evidence before making a decision.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Applying for grandparents’ rights can be challenging, especially if there is resistance from the child’s parents. One common challenge is proving that your involvement is in the child’s best interest. To overcome this, gather strong evidence such as school reports, psychological evaluations, and statements from people who support your claim.

Another challenge is navigating the legal system, which can be complex and time-consuming. Work with a family lawyer that can guide you through the legal jargon, ensure your paperwork is in order, and represent your case in court.

Can The Court Reject Grandparents’ Rights? 

Yes, if the court finds out of the slightest negative impact it has on the child, the court will reject grandparents’ rights. Here are some other reasons:

  • Tense relationship and irreconcilable issues between the parents and grandparents 
  • Child refuses to see the grandparents 
  • Child could be in danger if they stay in contact with the grandparents 
  • Grandparents want to replace the parents’ role in the child’s life

Remember, your grandchild’s interests matter the most. If you think your grandchild is in danger staying with their parents, seek immediate legal guidance. Our family lawyers in Brampton are here to help you. Please reach out to us for a free 15-minute consultation

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