What are the rights of grandparents in child custody in Western Australia?

When it comes to child custody cases in Western Australia, the focus often lies on the parents. However, the rights and responsibilities of grandparents are an essential and frequently overlooked aspect of family law. At Davies & Co Lawyers, located on Stirling Highway, Nedlands, Perth, Western Australia, we understand that grandparents play a significant role in many families.

Mark Davies, our Principal at Davies & Co Lawyers, along with his team, specialize in Premium Family Law & Mediation Services. We firmly believe in the vital role that grandparents often play in a child’s life, and we’re committed to helping you understand your legal rights.

Grandparents’ Rights: An Overview

Under the Family Law Act 1975, grandparents have the right to spend time with or communicate with their grandchildren. This legislation recognizes the significance of extended family members, including grandparents, in children’s lives.

In Western Australia, the focus is on the best interests of the child, and the courts consider various factors to determine this, including the relationship the child has with other family members, such as grandparents.

  1. Applying for Orders to See Grandchildren

Grandparents can apply to the Family Court for orders to spend time with or communicate with their grandchildren. This doesn’t mean an automatic right to custody or visitation but allows grandparents to have their case heard.

  1. Inclusion in Parenting Plans

A parenting plan might include provisions for grandparents, detailing how they will spend time with the children. This plan can be drafted with the assistance of a family lawyer like those at Davies & Co Lawyers to ensure it meets legal requirements.

  1. Mediation Services

Mediation can be an effective way to reach an agreement about the role of grandparents in a child’s life. Davies & Co Lawyers offer expert mediation services, facilitating discussions between parties to reach an amicable solution.

Factors the Court Considers

When assessing an application from a grandparent, the court looks at several factors:

  • The nature of the relationship between the grandparent and the child.
  • The likely effect on the child of any changes in their living arrangements, including separation from either parent or grandparent.
  • The practical difficulties and expenses involved in spending time with the child.
  • Any family violence or risk thereof.

The overriding consideration is always the child’s best interests.

Case Example: Grandparents as Primary Caregivers

In some instances, grandparents may even seek primary custody. The court may grant this in circumstances where living with a parent is not in the child’s best interests, such as cases of abuse or neglect. A detailed examination of the child’s welfare, emotional well-being, and the grandparent’s ability to provide care will be assessed.

Challenges and Support

Grandparents seeking time with grandchildren might face challenges, especially if relationships with the child’s parents are strained. Engaging in legal proceedings can be a delicate and emotionally charged process. That’s why professional support is critical.

Mark Davies and the team at Davies & Co Lawyers are experienced in handling the unique challenges that grandparents face in child custody matters. With an understanding of the legal landscape in Western Australia, we’re positioned to provide you with the best guidance and representation.


Grandparents can play an indispensable role in the lives of their grandchildren, and the law in Western Australia recognizes this. If you’re a grandparent seeking to understand your rights regarding child custody or simply wanting to ensure that your relationship with your grandchildren is legally recognized, we can help.

Davies & Co Lawyers, situated on Stirling Highway, Nedlands, Perth Western Australia, is committed to delivering premium family law and mediation services. Our approach is tailored to the unique needs of every family, with a particular emphasis on the rights of grandparents.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us guide you through the complex landscape of grandparents’ rights in child custody in Western Australia.