John Pollard



In many cultures, grandparents have traditionally played an important role in the family. With family breakdown continuing to increase, and the ageing of Australia’s population, more grandparents are wanting to know what right they have to regular contact with their grandchildren and what they can do to help care for their grandchildren.

In many families, grandparents play an important role as caretaker of the children, particularly in families where both parents work. Sometimes grandparents live in the same home as the parents and children and share many parental responsibilities with the working parents. In these situations, breakdown of the marriage impacts dramatically upon the whole family — the separating couple, the children, the grandparents and other members of the extended family with whom the children have had regular contact.

Sometimes the family break is a compound fracture. The family divides and loyally supports the spouse from its side of the family and is alienated from the other side. On occasions, this means retributional punishment for the parent who does not foster contact with her or his spouse’s extended family.