Simpler court process for grandparents beginning Sept. 1

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Changes to Maintenance and Custody Act take effect

Grandparents Rights Association members picket in front of former MLA Brian Skabar's office in 2012. Changes to the legislation take effect Sept. 1 simplifying the court process for grandparents.

Grandparents Rights Association members picket in front of former MLA Brian Skabar's office in 2012. Changes to the legislation take effect Sept. 1 simplifying the court process for grandparents.

HALIFAX – Grandparents seeking access to their grandchildren will have a simpler court process as of Sept. 1.

Amendments to the Maintenance and Custody Act will help grandparents who need the court's help to see their grandchildren when parents separate or divorce.

"As a grandparent, I know how important it is for grandparents to be involved in children's lives, especially when they are going through a difficult time," Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab said in a news release on Monday. "These changes recognize the importance of grandparents and provide them with direct access to the court, when needed, to stay involved in their grandchildren's lives."

Currently, grandparents seeking access have to ask the court's permission for standing before they can proceed to a hearing. The amendments remove this initial step, so courts will proceed directly to considering the grandparents' request for contact.

A group of grandparents heard more about the changes in a meeting in Pictou on Monday with court officers and other Justice Department staff.

"We are thrilled that the legislation has been changed. This will be good for future grandparents who may need the court's help to see their grandchildren," said Pauline Glenn, president of the Grandparents' Rights for Nova Scotia Association.

The amendments also ensure the courts will consider including contact with grandparents as a factor to determine what is in a child's best interests.

The changes were introduced in April.


Organizations: Justice Department, Nova Scotia Association

Geographic location: Pictou

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Recent comments

  • Rob
    August 29, 2014 - 08:13

    The research that the current government relied on to draft this legislation was performed years ago by staff in Skabar's office.......Like many other unpopular decisions the previous government made, however, the one not to go ahead with this flawed approach was a good one. As a family lawyer, T. Farrell should be ashamed to support a law that will a)burden the already burdened family court system; and b) allow for overbearing and controlling 'grandparents' to impose themselves (and their morals) into the lives of their adult children. Unfortunately, it's not popular to acknowledge this, and voters in NS have shown they won't be forced to accept good governance when there's always a McNeil and Farrell nearby to throw money at the loudest voices.........Finally, what's with including the picture of the 'protest' outside the former member's office? You'd figure that after 4 straight years of it, this publication and its editor would have been satisfied with the smear job it performed on him.

  • C McCarthy
    August 27, 2014 - 06:07

    This is terrible legislation. Grandparents should be seeking access through their own children not the already taxed family court. In those cases where it's appropriate, grandparents could already make a claim but it wasn't open season for every nasty divorce to get nastier by adding the inlaws. Where are the parents rights in determining what's best for their child in this?

  • Very Concerned Parent
    August 26, 2014 - 09:48

    It is not always in the child's best interest to have grandparents in their lives. It should be ip to the parents to make this decision; not the courts.

    • noodle
      August 26, 2014 - 23:07

      Agreed. Bad enough to have the parents putting kids in the middle, do we really need to toss extended family members into the fray? The only way grandparents should have the right to fight for access is if they can prove the parents are maliciously depriving them of seeing their grandkids and that this is detrimental to the child's wellbeing. Just because a person is a grandparent doesn't automatically mean they're a great human being and/or a good influence on their grandchildren.

  • Betty
    August 25, 2014 - 19:05

    So proud of these grandparents!

  • Betty
    August 25, 2014 - 19:04

    So proud of these grandparents!