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Grandparents rights in the UK

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

Hi,

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 😂

Maybeillkeepthisname Tue 12-Nov-19 15:47:50

@ NoArmaniNoPunani I'm sorry your circumstances seem very hard 💐 thank you for your message and I hope things improve for you and your child 💐

angell84 Tue 12-Nov-19 15:48:47

@maybeillkeepthisname I can understand what you are saying. Your sister never wants to see her mil again - and that is fair enough.

But why stop the child seeing the grandparent?

The two relationships are not the same, and I am sorry - she is not thinking of the grandchild in this, at the moment.

Let the grandchild see the granny, your sister does not have to see MiL at all

IWorkAtTheCheescakeFactory Tue 12-Nov-19 15:52:09

I’ve been through court and was ultimately court ordered to facilitate contact between DC and grandparents. If you want more information PM (I don’t want to post it here as it will out previous usernames I’ve discussed it under)

But grandparents don’t have any rights to contact. The right to contact is the child’s and contact is for the benefit of the child.

As for your sister the gradual phasing out of the grandparents is the smart way to do it. She must make sure that the grandmother never finds out they are deliberately phasing her out or she will go straight to a solicitor. And don’t cut her off altogether or -Same outcome. But minimal contact with baby massively reduces granny’s chances of getting contact ordered by a court if it comes down to that.

ILoveYou3000 Tue 12-Nov-19 15:57:24

@angell84 Have you missed the part where it's the child's father (the son of the in-laws) who has made this decision?

And how is it in a child's best interests to see adults who are disrespectful to that child's parents and who use manipulation and tantrums to get their own way?

CharityConundrum Tue 12-Nov-19 16:00:45

But why stop the child seeing the grandparent?

Because exposing a child to homophobia and someone who is openly hostile to one of their parents isn't in the child's best interests.

sillysmiles Tue 12-Nov-19 16:02:27

Let the grandchild see the granny, your sister does not have to see MiL at all

But the granny has already shown that she is negative about the mother and homophobic. Why would you want someone that negative and nasty in your child's life?
Not all grannies bake buns and give hugs. Some are mean and toxic influences.

Drum2018 Tue 12-Nov-19 16:08:22

Let the grandchild see the granny, your sister does not have to see MiL at all

Oh please, there are too many posts on MN already about parents who allow their children to see grandparents when they themselves are LC or even NC. It's ridiculous. If you have reason to be LC/NC with your parents or inlaws, then why on earth would you want your children to grow up being influenced by them?

@maybeillkeepthisname congrats to you and your sister on your new babies. Given your bil wants to step back from his parents then your sister should simply cease contact and let him have minimal contact if that's what he wants. She doesn't have to see them or bring the baby to see them.

Genevieva Tue 12-Nov-19 16:38:44

I haven't seen the other thread but this is not true. The only rights that are relevant to the courts are the rights of the child. Politicians have expressly said they do not wish to get involved in the private lives of ordinary families to the level that would be inevitable if there were grandparent rights in law. The only examples I know of are when a grandparent has had a significant caring role in a child's life and continuity of contact is deemed important for their mental health.

CAG12 Tue 12-Nov-19 17:03:48

To all those wanting this child to see the grandparent - OPs already said the relationship is a bad one. Realistically, if yiu had a bad relationship with a family member would you think 'but maybe they will be different with my kid' and willingly hand over your child? I suspect not.

Marnie76 Tue 12-Nov-19 17:32:35

@angell84 won’t listen to facts or reason. Only her agenda matters.

mbosnz Tue 12-Nov-19 17:40:45

'Granny's' own son doesn't want to spend any more time than he can't avoid with his mother. Is the child supposed to wheel its own buggy around to 'Granny's'?

Sounds like 'Granny' has made her bed, and now she's going to have to lie in it.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 12-Nov-19 20:29:50

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.

My husband died of a heroin overdose. Despite it being on his death certificate, his dad maintains that I'm lying about it, has shouted and abused me in front of my son. He also threatened to commit suicide in front of my son and told me it would be my fault. But yes, despite all of that, despite the fact that he messed up my husband, and that my husband never wanted him near our son, the court has decided that supported contact is the way forward

angell84 Thu 14-Nov-19 10:00:59

@Marnie76 what exactly is my 'agenda'. If an agenda - is helping a child - then that is a great agenda to have.

I don't know how anyone thinks that they can cut off a grandchild - grandparent relationship, (a vital relationship for the CHILD's wellbeing) because of a few remarks that the grandmother made.

Does this make sense : my MIL pissed me off, so I will stop her seeing her grandchhild for the reat of her life.

No, it is cruel and wrong.
And a court would agree

ILoveYou3000 Thu 14-Nov-19 12:05:37

Does this make sense : my MIL pissed me off, so I will stop her seeing her grandchhild for the reat of her life.

But that's not what happened.

Grandparents aren't always nice people. So, yes those grandparents not seeing their grandchildren is in the best interests of the child(ren). The OP's sister's husband is best placed in this instance to know whether his child will benefit from a relationship with his mother and he seems to think not.

mbosnz Thu 14-Nov-19 12:17:13

I'm sorry a relationship with a grandparent is not a vital relationship for a child's wellbeing - in that they do not have the rights or responsibility to provide for that child's supervision and wellbeing - these being the rights and responsibilities of the parents.

A strong, healthy relationship with a parent or caregiver is vital to a child's wellbeing - a necessity. Grandparents are an agreeable luxury. Which children can very well thrive without, if need be, for whatever reason. That could be distance, that could be death, or that could be toxicity.

My girls refuse to talk to their Grandfather now because of some extremely crass remarks he made to the, and also the way he has treated his family, their father, and myself over the years. The lack of relationship with their sole living grandfather impinges on their quality of life not a whit.

CheshireChat Thu 14-Nov-19 12:32:29

I'd see it as neglectful of me to allow any toxic people in my son's life- sadly, that included my father when he was alive and my ILs so of course I wouldn't allow them access.

I wouldn't withhold access to my mum even if we argued though as her behaviour towards my son is absolutely fine (not that I agree with her 100% of the time!).

bridgetreilly Thu 14-Nov-19 12:40:27

Usually when people are discussing grandparents' rights, it's in the situation following a break up in the parents' relationship - you might have a restraining order on an ex, for example, but his parents might still want to be able to see his child.

When the parents' relationship is still ongoing, it is entirely up to them to decide if and when their children see their grandparents. There is no court which would be interested in even opening a case here.

ColaFreezePop Thu 14-Nov-19 13:21:59

@mbosnz parents don't have rights only the children involved do. Parents just have responsibilities to act in the best interests of their children.

Children have the right to know their familial background and have relationships with family members where it isn't harmful to the child's well-being.

MulticolourMophead Thu 14-Nov-19 13:38:21

@maybeillkeepthisname congrats to you and your sister on your new babies. Given your bil wants to step back from his parents then your sister should simply cease contact and let him have minimal contact if that's what he wants. She doesn't have to see them or bring the baby to see them.

I'd advise your DSis to follow BIL's lead. From the threads I've seen, courts tend to favour the status quo, so if the PIL were to start the court process, the status quo would be the newer reduced contact.

I wouldn't agree to a weekly visit, keep it ad hoc if visiting is unavoidable so it's irregular.

mbosnz Thu 14-Nov-19 14:18:40

@mbosnz parents don't have rights only the children involved do. Parents just have responsibilities to act in the best interests of their children.

You may have noticed I said 'rights and responsibilities - because their rights come via their responsibilities to their children. They have the right to act in what they believe is in the best interests of their children - that could mean minimising or breaking contact with people they believe are harmful to their family unit, for example, threatening its stability, and thereby threatening the children's wellbeing. Even if they are family.

angell84 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:22:06

@CheshireChat - so you are stopping your child from seeing his grandparents (your in laws).

Out of interest - how would you feel if he traces his grandparents as an adult?

Because I know a few people that happened to, (mother wouldn't let them see grandparents), and they all traced their grandparents when they turned 18.

You can only control a child until they are 18.

angell84 Fri 15-Nov-19 09:23:17

@mbosnz at least you let your girls make their own decison

mbosnz Fri 15-Nov-19 09:36:17

@mbosnz at least you let your girls make their own decison

Yes - because there was sufficient geographical distance that he could no longer inflict damage on us. And he'd done it so often in so many ways that we could see him coming and going and protect ourselves from it. But that man brought our marriage as close to break up as anything ever has, and was a major part in another marital break up in the family. That was detrimental to the children involved, for sure.

CheshireChat Fri 15-Nov-19 09:56:54

He can track them down if he likes, he's not my property and he can make up his own mind. At that point however he'll be an adult and hopefully mature enough.

We didn't just have a minor disagreement though- they wanted to ultimately foster DS as they wanted to be paid for it hmm so funnily enough I want nothing to do with them and made sure there was no way they could approach DS.

I don't feel the same way about the entire extended family btw, regardless of whether I personally like them or not.

Screwtheclockchange Fri 15-Nov-19 11:04:04

"A strong, healthy relationship with a parent or caregiver is vital to a child's wellbeing - a necessity. Grandparents are an agreeable luxury."

Yup. A loving, healthy relationship with a grandparent is a wonderful thing. I miss my grandmother every day and I'm very grateful for the time I had with her. But a child with a stable, loving relationship with their main caregiver isn't going to be damaged by the absence of grandparents. I know plenty of people who didn't have any living grandparents left by the time they were born. It's a shame and they'd have liked to have met their grandparents, but I doubt any of them would say that they'd missed out on something fundamental to their emotional health.

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