What rights does a Grandparent have for Care or Contact with a Grandchild?

Grandparents are frequently involved in raising their grandchildren, and helping make important decisions about their lives, and may wonder what rights they have under family law in New Zealand.

The law sets out what to do if there are issues with parenting and the care of children, including applying to the Family Court for a parenting order or guardianship order.

Grandparents are recognised as having an important role in a child’s life. However, they usually have to ask permission of the Court to make an application for parenting or guardianship, unless an exception applies. This is because they are classified as “members of the child’s wider family, whānau or family group” under the Act.

Once they have got permission from the Court, they can apply for:

  • a parenting order which seeks care of, or contact with, the child; or
  • a guardianship order which seeks to have them added as an additional guardian of the child, with the legal right to help make important decisions affecting their life.

If you are a grandparent seeking parenting or guardianship rights for your grandchild, we recommend seeking advice, from a professional experienced in the area, on how to do so.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


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