6 Aug 2010

Grandparents demand legal aid for custody battles

10:56 am on 6 August 2010

Grandparents who bring up grandchildren are demanding a change to legal aid, to fight what they say are vexatious custody battles being mounted against them.

They say they often have to spend their nest eggs or take on debt to pay legal fees, while their children's absent parents can usually access legal aid as many times as they like.

The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust wants legal aid to be given to the child's lawyer instead of the parents or grandparents.

The office of the Minister of Justice says removing legal aid for the parents would be seen as taking sides.

About 10,000 children are being raised by extended family members, 84% by their grandparents.