The definition of “family” is continually evolving in British Columbia. That being the case, when a man and woman go though a separation, they should consider the implications their choices will have not only on their nuclear family but also on their extended family. If children are part of the family, the wishes of any living grandparents may need to be discussed during mediation. The concept of “grandparent’s rights” is currently under scrutiny in another province.
A New Democrat member of the Ontario Legislature has introduced a private member’s bill that seeks to ensure the courts in that province give grandparents the chance to be heard during custody disputes. It is estimated that some 75,000 grandparents in Ontario have been denied access to their grandchildren. This is not the first time this sort of legislation has been introduced in the province; six previous attempts have failed.
Experts on the subject believe that many grandparents can offer love and support to children who are experiencing the divorce of their parents. The stability they can provide may be beneficial to their grandchildren during difficult times. Unfortunately, many grandparents become pawns in the parents’ custody battles.
Family law in British Columbia allows for a grandparent to petition the court for access to grandchildren if denied by the primary caregiver. Former couples going through mediation, however, have the opportunity to provide for appropriate access right from the beginning — and without involving the courts. A representative from a family law firm may be able to assist men and women going through divorce to create places in their children’s lives for all those who care about them.
Source: CBC News Ottawa, “Grandparents push again for access to grandchildren in custody disputes“, Nov. 7, 2016