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Question
Posted by: Lynda | 2010/02/10

granddparental rights

We have just become grandparents 6 weeks ago. They only live 4 blocks away, but we only get to see baby 1once a week if lucky. We cannot just go and visit, as she always has an excuse. Suddenly she has just turned very nasty towards us.
We are not the interfering type, as we value their privacy.

They visit her parents all they time, and it is not a case of jealousy on our part, but not understanding her reasoning. When she does visit, she is really nasty and does not care who she hurts.

I have tried talking to my son, but he puts it down to her having to adjust. We have done nothing to offend her and cannot understand her attitude.

What are our rights as grandparents towards visitation. Is there a law that states we can be granted visiting rights. She is not the kind of person that one can reason with, and maybe we need to start knowing what our rights are. If we confront her, she will just have the weapon to say that she wont allow us to see baby any longer. Unfortunately my son indulges her completely, and the last thing we want him to do is to take sides.
All we want is to be able to bond with our grandson like normal grandparents and to see him even once a week.

Pse help us solve this problem, it is really make us very unhappy.
Granddad has not even been able to hold his grandson yet, six weeks later. If we have the law on our side, then at least we know where we stand, should we have to fight for our rights.
They are both professional people, so ignorance is not excuse for their behaviour, and my son comes from a well adjusted loving family.

Pse help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

Unfortunately there is nothing in our common law that indicate that "anyone" has a right of access to a minor child other than the the child's natural parents.

The High Court's powers, as upper guardian of minor children, are not unlimited and it can't interfere with a decision made by the guardian of a child merely because it disagrees with that decision. Our courts have always been reluctant to interfere with the parental authority except in special circumstances. Decisions as to who a child should have contact with remain in the hands of the person or persons vested with parental authority, in this case the father.

Any judicial intervention in a family might have unsettling effects on the dynamics of that family setup, which might in turn affect the welfare and interests of the child in question.

Having said that, the current common law position is that any third party is entitled to approach the court to have the right of access granted to him or her, provided that such right is in the best interests of the child. The court can then refer parties to mediation by mediators, alternatively appointed by the Office of the Family Advocate, see, Townsend-Turner and Another v. Morrow 2004 (2) SA 32 (CPD).

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za
bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Family law expert | 2010/02/10

Unfortunately there is nothing in our common law that indicate that "anyone" has a right of access to a minor child other than the the child's natural parents.

The High Court's powers, as upper guardian of minor children, are not unlimited and it can't interfere with a decision made by the guardian of a child merely because it disagrees with that decision. Our courts have always been reluctant to interfere with the parental authority except in special circumstances. Decisions as to who a child should have contact with remain in the hands of the person or persons vested with parental authority, in this case the father.

Any judicial intervention in a family might have unsettling effects on the dynamics of that family setup, which might in turn affect the welfare and interests of the child in question.

Having said that, the current common law position is that any third party is entitled to approach the court to have the right of access granted to him or her, provided that such right is in the best interests of the child. The court can then refer parties to mediation by mediators, alternatively appointed by the Office of the Family Advocate, see, Townsend-Turner and Another v. Morrow 2004 (2) SA 32 (CPD).

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za
bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

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