SA Legal Aid - Grandparents Wanting Access to 2-year-old Grandson?

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Susieq62

Member
29 January 2018
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0
1
I will try and keep this short.

After a communication breakdown with my daughter, I have not been able to see my 2-year-old grandson for 4 1/2 months. Previous to that, we had looked after him in our home from birth every 2nd or 3rd night for a 24 hour period, and in the last year, every week for a 24-hour period and seen him regularly during the week as well. We have also provided clothes, toys, cot, etc. Mother has mental health issues as well as a physical disability.

Mother is involved with a man who injured her and my grandson when he was 10 months old. Charges were laid from the domestic violence episode and the father is, as a result of that is, on a two-year good behavior bond. Father of my grandson is currently facing court charges on a sexual assault matter involving a child from a previous relationship (not his child).

His two children from that relationship are, by order of the court, not to have any contact with this man until they have turned 18. Child protection have been involved. It's a very complex situation.

I wish to have access to my grandson restored. I have attempted mediation, letters to her, etc., but she is refusing all forms of any communication with me or any other members of her family immediate and extended.

There is no family on the father's side, including any grandparents. So in effect there is only my husband and I who can provide any other family relationship.

I am on carers pension as my husband has a disability, but I work two days a week and because of that, I have been refused legal aid. I cannot afford a lawyer at the $10,000, plus I have been quoted and I have not been able to gain any assistance anywhere to help with even preparing the papers and I am really not sure on just how difficult it is to represent myself in court in this matter.

If there is any help that any one can give me that might be helpful.
 

AllForHer

Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
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The first thing you need to do is organise a family dispute resolution conference with the mother to try and negotiate an arrangement. Contact Relationships Australia and they will attempt to contact your daughter on your behalf to organise this.

If that fails, you'll be granted a s 60I certificate to file with an initiating application through the Federal Circuit Court. The certificate is mandatory to prove that you've attempted to resolve the matter via alternative dispute resolution before applying to the Court.

Your initiating application will be for parenting orders and it will need to be accompanied by a minute of orders sought (that is, a list of the care arrangements that you want the Court to make into orders), and an affidavit of evidence supporting your application. You must show in your affidavit of evidence that the orders you seek are in the best interests of the child.

I suggest reading Section 60B of the Family Law Act here: FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 60B Objects of Part and principles underlying it
Section 60CA here: FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 60CA Child's best interests paramount consideration in making a parenting order
As well as Section 60CC here: FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 60CC How a court determines what is in a child's best interests

Section 60B will give you an idea of your grandson's rights, section 60CA is in regard to the child's best interests being paramount in parenting matters, and section 60CC outlines what the Court takes into consideration when determining what's in the best interests of a child.

As a matter of interest, the term parenting orders is what they call any orders made in relation to a child's care arrangements. As a grandparent, you're allowed under section 65C (FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 65C Who may apply for a parenting order) to apply for parenting orders.

It would be prudent in your affidavit to provide details about the care arrangement you had with the child prior to your falling out with your daughter. This will assist in showing the Court that you have a relationship with the child and it's in the child's best interests for that relationship to continue.
 

Susieq62

Member
29 January 2018
2
0
1
Thank you for that information Allforher. I have already attempted mediation and have a certificate. I will have a look at those links.
 

AllForHer

Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
3,664
680
2,894
Ah, no worries. In that case, the following will also be helpful:

DIY initiating application kit: Initiating Application Kit (do it yourself kit) - Family Court of Australia

Initiating application form: Initiating Application (form) - Family Court of Australia

And a template affidavit: Affidavit - Family Court of Australia

For orders sought, it might be a good idea to read some parenting cases on Austlii so you can see what they generally look like. I also think you'll benefit from legal advice, even just one consultation so you know what to expect.