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|Updated: 27 Apr 2017|
|Legal/Para Legal Services||Yes|
|Updated: 27 Apr 2017|
|Elderly Services & Seniors Law Team
Having provided a full range of legal services to the people of Canterbury since 1888 it was a natural progression for Harmans to establish and develop areas of law that will provide their clients with expert advice in an increasingly diversified legal environment.
One such speciality area of law is the Elderly Services and Seniors Law Team, which was formed by Harmans in 1999 to coincide with the International Year of the Older Person.
Over the past 17 years, the Seniors Law Team has built on those early foundations and continues to diversify and grow as the baby boomer generation moves into retirement and the need for specialist legal advice in this area of law rapidly increases.
Examples of specialist areas of law, with a specific impact on seniors, are:
•the growth of the retirement village industry and the need for expert legal advice prior to entry into an Occupation Right Agreement
•the criteria surrounding eligibility for a Residential Care Subsidy, which requires a working knowledge of the current regulations, including the relevant asset and income testing levels and the Work and Income gifting regime, particularly in relation to Discretionary or Family Trusts
•property ownership and how this may impact on you and your family as you move into retirement
The Seniors Law Team also ensures that clients have:
•robust advice on asset protection and estate planning and how this will affect them as they move into retirement
•valid Enduring Powers of Attorney for both Property and Personal Care & Welfare
•assistance with a variety of legal work such as, conveyancing, Trust formation and on-going administration
Harmans Seniors Law Team is based at our Papanui office.
One of our goals is to ensure that all of our Senior clients have access to legal advice and assistance. Sometimes that requires us to take our service to our clients. We can therefore arrange appointments in our clients’ homes, or when required, in the care facility or hospital they are residing in, either to take instructions or to witness their execution of the documents.
|Updated: 17 Oct 2019|
Contact with Grandchildren
At a time when we are living longer and healthier lives it is also the case that the glue that formerly kept families together and in communication with one another has been stretched to breaking point.
The Care of the Children Act 2004 recognised this evolving family dynamic and the Act ensures that children have a way to maintain and develop a relationship with all wider family members including Grandparents.
A frequent issue arising for grandparents can be contact with their grandchildren in circumstances where either their child or their child’s partner becomes disenchanted with them and/or their partner and as a consequence stops contact with grandparents. Alternately it may be that one of the grandparents’ children is a disinterested parent and that provides a block on communication and contact.
It will come as no surprise and perhaps some satisfaction that both the Courts and Oranga Tamariki have recognised the increasingly important role played by grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren. In a Rotorua case in 2008 Judge Mackenzie noted that grandparents can “offer benefits to children different from parents, often because of life experiences and also because of greater availability of time”. In the Nelson Family Court Judge Russell commented “As I have said in a number of cases, it takes “a village to raise a child”, and good grandparents can teach children much about life which the children’s own parents cannot. They come from a different generation, and can teach children matters from a different perspective than can the children’s own parents.”
This brief commentary is directed to contact as distinct from day to day care (or what used to be called “custody”). In the case of contact then, grandparents have a right to apply to Court, subject to leave being granted. It would be unusual for the Courts not to grant leave in circumstances where grandparents are clearly motivated by a genuine interest in their grandchild and had a desire to have a meaningful relationship with them.
Before applying to the Court grandparents would need to go through a process known as FDR (Family Dispute Resolution). That requires the parties to mediate with the parents of the child with a view to reaching a satisfactory outcome. That process can take up to 6 weeks and does have a cost.
If the matter is unable to be resolved at the FDR stage then an application can be made to the Court for contact and at the same time an application for leave.
If you find yourself in this predicament then you should contact your lawyer to discuss what can be done. At Harmans we have a team of 5 lawyers in the Family Team who understand the application of the legislation and how to provide a pathway for you to either obtain contact or obtain a resumption of contact with your grandchild.
You can give either Harriet Daley or Charlie Robson a call on 352-2293 to arrange an appointment to discuss your situation.