Simpler court process for grandparents beginning Sept. 1

Changes to Maintenance and Custody Act take effect

Published on August 25, 2014
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.
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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.