This is the final blog post in a series summarizing some of the things that happened in 2017 that may impact on your family. This post will discuss grandparents in access and custody disputes.
Grandparents’ custody and access claims for grandchildren
In December 2016, the Ontario government passed Bill 34, Children’s Law Reform Amendment Act (Relationship with Grandparents), which sets out grandparents’ standing in access and custody disputes. Although anyone, including a grandparent, was allowed to apply to a court for custody and access under the previous legislation, this bill specifically refers to grandparents. It requires courts to consider a child’s relationship with their grandparents when deciding child custody or access applications.
This legislation is a response to pushes from various groups, such as Alienated Grandparents Anonymous, that the grandparent-grandchild relationship should be more formally recognized. However, many people have criticized these amendments as unnecessary.
It remains to be seen if these amendments result in substantive changes, as the overriding factor in all custody and access decisions continues to be the best interests of the child.
If you would like to learn more about how the above legislative change may impact you, contact our Family Law Group.