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A Guide To Extended Family Visitation Rights

A Guide to Extended Family Visitation Rights

When the courts learn about a child’s difficulties in a possibly toxic environment at home, visitation and custody rights may extend to extended family members. This is implemented when the child is experiencing issues such as neglect, abuse, or assault at home.

Extended family members include grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

As family law lawyers in Calgary, we can help you determine child access if conflicts arise. Here are a few situations where extended family members may have the rights to decision-making responsibilities and guardianship.


As family lawyers in Calgary, we know that the neglection of a child is a severe matter. An investigation may be instigated with social services to assess the severity of neglect.

If the parents prove to be negligent and cause a child to suffer from neglect over time, they may face arrest. In family law, our family lawyers in Calgary have seen situations resulting in extended family members being granted access and/or decision-making responsibilities of a child on both a temporary and permanent basis. Of course, the courts will always look to the best interests of the child when making any decisions with respect to parenting and are very thorough in their processes when changing a child’s primary residence or guardianship.


If there are signs of abuse at home, the extended family may immediately become more involved, stepping in to take the affected child. Different types of abuse that can be highly scarring to youth are:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional

As family lawyers in Calgary, we can assure you that there are processes available and steps to be taken if any of these or any other form of abuse is happening to a child. Extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles, or cousins, may be granted access and/or decision-making responsibilities of a child on both a temporary and permanent basis.

Parenting Matters

The child can live with extended family members without dissolving the guardianship rights of the parents. Extended family members may be given temporary custody and access to the child.

This gives the custodial family member the legal rights to make decisions related to the youth’s needs, such as health care, education etc. However, both parents may have to agree on giving rights to temporary custody. This can often occur if the immediate parents have a health condition that interferes with their day-to-day parenting abilities or if they are travelling out of the country for an extended period of time.

Legal Support for Extended Family Rights

Extended family members can petition for extended visitation or custody rights, but we recommend hiring a professional family lawyer to support and guide you through the process.

As family law lawyers in Calgary, we want to help you move forward with clarity. At Jones Divorce and Family Law, we will help you strategize a favourable outcome for you and your family.

Learn more about us, or book a consultation with us today.