Our expert says:
Family law expert
The question is always, "what is in the best interest of the children"? As the biological parents of your children you have full parental responsibilities and rights over the children. A grandparent does not have an inherent right to access to his / her grandparent. Therefore in the facts that you had given, I cannot see that a Court will award more visitation rights to your grandparents beyond what they have already. Furthermore, the Court will take into account a number of factors to determine what are in the best interests of the child, such as his age, which in your case necessarily implies that the child needs all the contact time available with his natural parents. Normally sleep over rights are only awarded in a divorce to the other parent (father) once the child reaches the age of 4 or 5 and thus I can see no reason why a grandparent should be treated differently.
Section 23 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides that any person (including grandparents and other family members) having an interest in the care, wellbeing or development of a child may apply to the High Court or a Divorce Court or the Children’s Court, for an order granting to the Applicant, on such conditions as the Court may deem necessary –
a)contact with the child; or
b)care of the child.
When considering such an application, the Court must take into account –
a) the best interests of the child;
b) the relationship between the Applicant and the child and any other relevant person and the child;
c) the degree of commitment that the Applicant has shown towards the child;
d) the extent to which the Applicant has contributed towards expenses in connection with the birth and maintenance of the child; and
e) any other factor that should, in the opinion of the Court, be taken into account.
Family Law Attorney
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