Practical advice; how to get contact with your grandchild away from the Family Court:
- Round-table meeting hosted at a family members house. Get a third party involved.
- If mediation is not possible, grandparent needs to make applications with the Family Court. They cannot make application as of right, must get Court permission.
- If filing on notice, will need to meet the pre-requisites for filing Court proceedings– three steps:
- Parenting through separation programme;
- Family Disputes resolution;
- Court proceedings.
Considerations for the grandmother or grandfather in The Family Court if filed:
- Whether there has been a substantially similar proceeding in the past? Section 139A of our Care of Children Act (COCA) 2004. (Highly unlikely – or at least arguable that grandparent access would not be included)
- Children’s wishes – not as relevant for a 3 year old as it would be for, example, a 10 year old.
- Overall what is in the child’s welfare and best interests:
- Principle 5(e) of our COCA 2004, a child should continue to have a relationship with both of his or her parents, and that a child’s relationship with his or her family group, whānau, hapū, or iwi should be preserved and strengthened:
- Principle 5(f) of our COCA 2004, a child’s identity (including, without limitation, his or her culture, language, and religious denomination and practice) should be preserved and strengthened.