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Grandparents rights in the UK

(72 Posts)
maybeillkeepthisname Sun 01-Sep-19 01:44:18


I'm a long time user but I've NC as I'm aware my sil is on here :-)

I just saw grandparents rights mentioned on another thread and it was commented that a lot of people think gps have none but court cases usually end in contact? I wondered how true this is?

My sister has a 9 week old baby and has low contact with her ILs. Before baby came she saw them maybe once every three months (they live about an hour away) and now she has been seeing them maybe once every few weeks? Her husband (my bil) speaks to his father via text every few days but bil says that they never discuss anything of relevance so his family rarely know what is going on in their lives.

They are lc as bils family are very much 'for show' but no real interest in them as a family and over the years my sister has really struggled with her mil. DS has confided in me for all of this (we are talking 10 years) of snide comments, excluding DS from their family etc. Her mil almost ruined their wedding and acted shockingly badly on the day. As far as I can see (from what I have been told and witnessed) the mother does not accept my sister at all.

When my nephew came along the ILs also completely disregarded DS, throwing a tantrum that they couldn't meet DN the day he was born (both mum and baby were very poorly and everyone was asked to wait as at first DS was not fully conscious and her and bil were told DN may have suffered birth injuries). Thank god DN is the picture of health :-)

Anyway long story short my sister is really trying post birth to build bridges with her ILs and sort things out but she seems to be coming up against hurdles from them all the time. This last week mil has been openly homophobic in front of DS (made worse by the fact our brother is openly gay which mil knows and we love and support him).

DS and BIL came round tonight and we were discussing the whole thing. They have decided to slowly phase the ILs out even more and drop down their visits. BIL has said he knows this will cause a fuss but he is not worried. But they said the MIL has already said before baby was born about her grandparental rights and how she wants to see baby every week. I am concerned they are both being very naive.

So I'm asking if anyone has any experience of rights for grandparents and how likely it is they'd be granted access to my DN. Baring in mind he is so young I can't see how they could prove they have a prior relationship with him?

My sister is reading these comments with me so please don't tell me to mind my own business as she knows i posted and is interested in people's experiences :-)

Sorry if this is confusing or too long! I also have a 10 week old baby so tiredness is definitely getting to us both 😂

Lahlahfizzyfizzydoda Sun 01-Sep-19 01:56:46

I assume your DS (dear sister) lives in the UK?

If so, there are no ‘grandparental rights’ so they don’t need to concern themselves.

BizzzzyBee Sun 01-Sep-19 02:02:57

No such thing as grandparents rights. They can petition for access if they have an established relationship and can show it would be detrimental to the child to lose that. But there are no guarantees.

Jesaminecollins Sun 01-Sep-19 02:10:23

Grandparents have no rights in the UK

MooseBeTimeForSummer Sun 01-Sep-19 02:18:47

This is a useful summary:

MamaOomMowWow Sun 01-Sep-19 02:26:41

The link that MooseBeTimeForSummer is useful but it's worth bearing in mind that it's written by lawyers who want to get grandparents to come pay pay for some legal advice about getting contact so doesn't sound too pessimistic about the grandparents' chances.

It's actually very rare for contact orders to be granted against the parent's wishes. It's a 2 stage process to the grandparents have to ask the court's permission first before they can apply for contact.

I personally wouldn't worry too much but I would avoid regular weekly contact that they might argue should continue indefinitely.

hmga90 Sun 01-Sep-19 02:34:20

They get what they deserve I’m afraid.

They don’t have to be best pals with your DS but they can at least be respectful as the wife to their son and especially as mother to their grandson.

I put up with the shit off my own mother for 26 years OP. Tell your DS to walk away now and not even let it bother her. Life is too short.

hmga90 Sun 01-Sep-19 02:35:21

If you want to PM me feel free and I’ll go into more detail- don’t want to be posting publically about it but I assure you I’m 99.9% certain I know how she feels.

pumkinspicetime Sun 01-Sep-19 03:15:45

There are no rights in UK child based law, even parents don't have them. There are only responsibilities and contact arrangements.
These grandparents would be highly unlikely to gain contact against parental wishes.
Don't start contact you don't want to maintain.

Mintjulia Sun 01-Sep-19 03:24:04

Grandparents in the UK don’t have rights to grandchildren, thank goodness.
You dsis and her dh can choose to stay as low contact as they wish.

Piffle11 Sun 01-Sep-19 03:31:14

I have no idea how true this is - as my MIL is a loon - but she went to see a solicitor when her other DIL Stopped her having DGS, and was told that as she had always had regular contact (she had looked after him at least 1 day a week from 6 months), that they could make a case. So like another poster said, don’t start contact that you do not wish to keep up. I certainly wouldn’t be going out of my way to forge a relationship between my child and this woman: She sounds awful, and not the sort of person I would want influencing my child.

Piffle11 Sun 01-Sep-19 03:34:21

Posted too soon! In my MIL’s case, I do think that they were basically trying to scare DIL into agreeing to access without actually going to court. I am not sure How far it would have gone, as BIL managed to smooth things over.

TiredOldTable Sun 01-Sep-19 03:50:10

I know someone who went to court and has rights to see their grandchild. Too outing to say exactly but the child is in care and neither parent sees them (no ss concerns all voluntary)

Rainbowqueeen Sun 01-Sep-19 04:10:58

The first thing the court will look at is the interests of the child. My understanding is that if grandparents were heavily involved in raising their grandchild so it would not be in the child’s best interests due to the close relationship they already had not to see them anymore that contact might be awarded
Not in any other case

Your sister has nothing to worry about

TORDEVAN Sun 01-Sep-19 06:30:23

They have to apply to court and succeed with that to be able to make a petition for access. It is apparently an expensive process.

The judge will assess whether it is within the child's best interests to see the grandparents. If the child hasn't known the grandparents past babyhood I doubt they'd get access.

I investigated this due to issues with my DM and this is what I was told.

maybeillkeepthisname Sun 01-Sep-19 12:04:36

Thanks all :-) that is a relief! I always thought as some of you have said that gps would have to prove they had a relationship with the child already but on another thread it was suggested that wasn't the case!

Hopefully DS will never have to have it come to all this but it's good to know her mil has no basis to her threat!

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 12-Nov-19 15:03:15

I'm just back from court today. My ex inlaws took me to court for the right to see my son. My husband is dead. My ex inlaws didn't have much contact with my son before my husband's death but the court have ruled that he must have visits in a contact centre with them.

ColaFreezePop Tue 12-Nov-19 15:22:51

@NoArmaniNoPunani I think the most important thing in your circumstances is your husband is dead. The other cases differ because the child isn't in care and the father is alive.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 12-Nov-19 15:25:02

Yes I think you're right. I posted on mumsnet 18 months ago when they first started court proceedings and was reassured that grandparents have no rights. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case for me

angell84 Tue 12-Nov-19 15:25:10

But why is she thinking of herself,

And not what is good for the child?

angell84 Tue 12-Nov-19 15:26:22

OP - do you not think it is cruel to stop children seekng their grandparents and vice versa?

This is yet another story - where the parents are thinking totally of themselves

BubblesBuddy Tue 12-Nov-19 15:34:18

Why would it not be in a child’s interests to see grandparents in a contact centre when their son, the father, is dead? It doesn’t seem right for them not to have this supervised opportunity so it’s not so much a “right” but more of a reasonable decision to allow your child contact with his dead father’s family.

BubblesBuddy Tue 12-Nov-19 15:35:42

Plus: your reasons for not maintaining contact have been judged as less important than your child’s welfare in respect of having contact.

Hoppinggreen Tue 12-Nov-19 15:39:00

Bubbles without knowing the backstory and ils behaviour (which I don’t really either) I don’t see show you can say it would be in the interest of a child to have contact with his dead fathers family, you simply don’t know the circumstances for that lady

maybeillkeepthisname Tue 12-Nov-19 15:44:50

@angell84 no I don't actually 🤷🏻‍♀️ I think it's cruel to keep them apart if the grandparents are a positive influence and connection for the child. In my sisters case they have proven to not be. I agree that some people use babies as toys to manipulate family relations but you appear to have read my OP and made your own assumptions that my sister is thinking only of herself and not the affect this will have on her child. My sister has gone out of her way to aid the relationship with her ILS (before and immediately after baby) and it has been hard to watch her be beaten down so apologies if I have jumped on the defensive but please do not just think this is a decision my sister and her husband (their son!) have taken lightly.

I personally wouldn't like my child to be around someone who thinks it's okay to treat their mum negatively and there are other issues going on here. (Homophobia for one is not something we want in our family). Anyway since I've posted this thread a few months ago things have become a lot worse. DSs ILs have threatened to see a solicitor but so far nothing has happened with that.

I probably won't be responding on this anymore as I do not want to put myself or my sister, things are tense enough atm as it is.

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