WA Grandparents Rights - Not Allowed to See Grandchildren After Mother's Death

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24 February 2015
My daughter passed away 7months ago leaving two very young children. She and her husband were getting a divorce and I have not been able to see the children since then. I have asked to mediate with the ex-husband and been told by the new wife "We can work something out, but only if you don't go to mediation. Any advice please?


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
Why do they wish to avoid mediation? It's neutral territory, designed to keep both parties on even ground and ensure they stay on track.

I'll approach this from a legal stance hopefully to empower you a little.

Chapter VII of the Family Law Act 1975 covers matters relating to children and one of the principles guiding the legislation is that children have a right to know, spend time and communicate with people relevant to their care - which, by legal definition, includes grandparents.

The benefit of this principle is that it gives you the capacity to pursue orders through court to facilitate the children maintaining a relationship with you.

However, before such proceedings can commence, you must attend a family dispute resolution conference to try and resolve the issue without court intervention. If an agreement can be reached, you can sign a parenting plan or have the agreement entered as consent orders with the court to give the orders legal weight.

If agreement can't be reached, however, you'll receive a certificate clearing the way for you to pursue an outcome through court.

The court will only ever make orders that it deems to be in the best interests of the child, and the considerations used to make that decision are outlined under section 60CC of the Family Law Act. I strongly suggest looking it up because it is also often helpful for parties to make sense of what's important about care arrangements for kids.

As a grandparent, it's important to remain reasonable about expectations. If this were to come before court, you would probably find that you wouldn't receive alternate weekends. You might get one or two days a month.

But first, talk to legal aid or Relationships Australia to organise mediation. They will contact the other party for you and get the ball rolling.