Amendments to the Maintenance and Custody Act have been proclaimed and came into effect on September 1, 2014. These amendments affect access applications made by grandparents and have three main points:
1. The amendments allow a grandparent to proceed directly to the hearing of the application for access on the merits. The application to the court for leave is eliminated for grandparent access applications.
2. The amendments retain the prerequisite step of applying for leave in applications regarding the care and custody of a child by any person other than a parent or guardian.
3. For grandparent access applications, the amendments add two more considerations to the “best interests of the child” considerations listed in section 18(6):
- when appropriate, the willingness of each parent or guardian to facilitate access by and visiting with the grandparent; and
- the necessity of making an order to facilitate access and visiting between the child and the grandparent.
For more information for grandparents, click here.