Can My In-Laws Take Me To Court to Force Me to Let Them See My KIds?

granddaughter visiting grandfather for access

Grandparents and other extended family can cause a lot of strife, which is usually very bad for the kids. I have done a number of these cases and it is almost always the case that the personality traits that causes the grandparents to go to court over access is the personality traits that caused the custodial parent to worry that contact with the kids was not good in the first place. 

With regard to the question of going to court, the Grandparents do have the right to do that. The Children's Law Reform Act allows any person to apply for custody or access to any child - not just parents. You can also expect to hear from judges that it is very important for children to have a relationship with their extended families as it is fundamental to the children developing their identities. However, not all contact is "good' or "helpful" and the court will look at whether the access is in the child's best interest. To see the factors that the court considers, listen to this podcast: and read this webpage.  

However, in the end, when it comes down to it, the law gives a lot of weight to what the custodial parent wants. As long as the custodial parent is trying to act in the child's best interest, it is up to the custodial parent as to how the children are parenting and who the children see. The exception to this when the children are on your ex's time.  Then it is up to your ex  to decide who the children see when they are with her. If you feel your ex is harming the children, then you should speak to her about the issue, try to involve a parenting professional (social worker or child psychologist) to assist with the issue and if your wife is not cooperative and you feel you need to deny access, then you should go to court to get the court's blessing - otherwise you may be in contempt of court. 

Although this blog addressed grandparents' rights to visit grandchildren when the parents are separated, the law is not much different when the parents are not separated.  In that situation, the court will hear from two custodial parents that there are reasons why the court should not order access.

2012 edition book cover

For more on this issue, you can pick up a copy of this book (click on the book go to Amazon to purchase a copy for $20 or less):

If you need help with dealing with your in-laws, you can contact Certified Specialist in Family Law, Toronto Lawyer, John Schuman by using the contact form below or the phone number at the top of the page.  You can also use that contact form to comment on this article.  If you found this page helpful, please use the buttons below the contact form to share this page on your social network.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on KindleiBookstore_140x70


© John P. Schuman 2014