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AIBU to ask for help with Grandparent's right to access

(28 Posts)
helpwithNGFplease Fri 05-Jun-20 16:30:16

Name changed for this as I wouldn't want to be recognised.

Please can someone tell me if this only applies to those who are divorced:

My husband and I are married. Would my husband's parent be able to petition the court for contact with our child? My husband's father is a narcissist who insidiously emotionally abused him as a child and teenager which seriously affected his self-esteem then and even to this day.

Despite this, he tried to forgive him and remain civil and friendly with him on a low contact basis. Mostly so he wouldn't continue to try to smear us and prevent contact with my husband's extended family. He is very outwardly charming with a well respected job title and family money. So no one would ever believe him capable of the many instances of gaslighting, manipulation, bullying and him playing the victim I have witnessed over the years.

We tried to keep a contact boundary this year (we wouldn't go to see his father and his partner once) and the blow back has been disproportionately large and hurtful. This for me is the straw that broke the camel's back.

I do not want our child to ever have to experience even the slightest bit of this.

If we went no contact, would he be able to apply to the courts to see his grandchild? If so, what would we need to do to stop this from happening?

Thank you for your help with this.

OP’s posts: |
LaurieFairyCake Fri 05-Jun-20 16:34:07

How much regular time has he spent with his grandchildren?

If barely any or none he has NO chance whatsoever

It is only if it's in the child's interest and there has been repeated contact that it would even be remotely considered

MrsT1405 Fri 05-Jun-20 16:34:22

Grandparents do not have any rights at all to see grandchildren. I've never meet 2 of mine.

HugeAckmansWife Fri 05-Jun-20 16:35:16

As, far as I know there is no legal right to access to a grandchild but equally, if you divorced and your ex took the kids to see them, you couldn't stop it, unless you had very good grounds and proof of abusive behaviour to the child in question.

CuriousaboutSamphire Fri 05-Jun-20 16:35:59

He would have absolutely no chance of gaining any such rights unless he has had a significant role, undertaking primary care, for some extended time period.

Call his bluff, let him bad-mouth you to people who do not matter to you. Ignore him, stop all contact and support your DH in making the best decision for himself and his child.

Good luck. Poisonous parents can be very frightening, guilt tripping and confidence busting.

TorkTorkBam Fri 05-Jun-20 16:39:22

That law is designed for situations where, say, the grandparents looked after the children most days then got cut off for mad reasons

You are fine. Their solicitor would immediately tell them to drop it.

Anyway, you can go no contact without being so overt as declaring in writing "you will never see me or my children again!" All you do is quietly stop returning calls and generally be busy.

Strawberrypancakes Fri 05-Jun-20 16:39:30

My estranged father tried to get access to my children, he didn’t make it past the first hearing. They’ll always listen to the parents wishes if they’re strong.

CelestialSpanking Fri 05-Jun-20 16:46:02

According to a social worker who took on our case a few years ago grandparents have zero rights, generally speaking. They have the right to go to court which is fairly recent but that’s about it. As it should be in my opinion (and experience).

Your FIL is abusive so has no chance.

helpwithNGFplease Fri 05-Jun-20 19:48:47

Thank you so much everyone for sharing you knowledge and experience.

He has seen his grandchild less than ten times so from the advice here I think we would be fine. I worry that he would try just to be difficult. If he does, would we need to hire a solicitor?

@TorkTorkBam thank you, yes I think we will be trying to do this with as little drama and fuss as possible.

OP’s posts: |
PanicOnTheStreets85 Fri 05-Jun-20 19:56:17

He has seen his grandchild less than ten times so from the advice here I think we would be fine. I worry that he would try just to be difficult. If he does, would we need to hire a solicitor?

It seems incredibly unlikely that he'd get access and it's a 2 stage process - 1) he has to ask the court for permission to apply for access and 2) then he has to convince the court to give him access. I wouldn't bother wasting money/time on getting a solicitor unless he gets to stage 2 (which he almost certainly won't).

Namechange880 Fri 05-Jun-20 20:37:55

You have nothing to worry about OP.
Five years ago we cut contact with DHs narcissistic parents, they were the same emotional abusers, who when they realised they couldn’t bully DH around with his child, started turning very nasty indeed, to the point where we had to get police involved who told them to stay away from us (and even agreed we should keep child away!) before police involvement they threatened us constantly with taking us to court with ‘grandparents rights’ my child was 1 and a half at the time. I was petrified, very upset and must have seen at least 5 solicitors before we cut contact to check if they could.... it was a resounding NO.
It has been five years now and though they try every now and again to cause trouble I have never received any sort of court/solicitor letters from them, they have no chance.

Hope that helps.

helpwithNGFplease Fri 05-Jun-20 20:59:31

Thank you that is very helpful!

I know this is a separate issue but for those who have cut contact completely or in a limited capacity, have you had pushback from other family members?

I was hoping that our child would grow up knowing extended family on his side but I fear that if we cut contact, however gently, that he will make it difficult and unpleasant. I worry that he will guilt trip them into not wanting to be around us. Or if they do stay in contact with us, it will only be to push his agenda and try to convince us to see him.

OP’s posts: |
AtaMarie Fri 05-Jun-20 21:06:03

I remember your last thread about him, you got similar answers there I think that outlined how unlikely it would be.

It’s clearly something that worries you, sorry this is taking up so much headspace. Has he done anything that might indicate he will pursue this?

ASimpleLampoon Fri 05-Jun-20 21:22:17

OP my parents took me to court last year. They did get a child arrangements order to see my children once a month, supervised by my DH. They got less then what we offered at mediation stage because they refused reasonable suggestions from us and in the end CAFCAss made recommendations that a judge was unlikely to disagree with. Get legal advice for your individual situation and discuss it thoroughly with a family solicitor. It's not true they have no rights, they have no automatic rights as a parent has but can get rights to contact by going to courts. Mediation must be considered first before it goes to court. Then they will need to apply to court do permission to proceed with the application.
The courts will also offer resolution hearing with a cafcass officer initially which much less formal than a hearing. It's a horrible process but for me the order put in boundaries that protected me and my DC which they have to comply with now.

Windyatthebeach Fri 05-Jun-20 21:27:12

19:37Andahelterskelterroundmylittle. Had your dc previously had regular unsupervised contact? This I believe is the only route to gain GPS 'rights'..

Windyatthebeach Fri 05-Jun-20 21:28:01

Not sure how that failed!!
Meant you ASimpleLampoon..


RuthW Fri 05-Jun-20 21:38:38

Grandparents have no legal right to access.

My partner can not see his grandchildren just because his daughter sided with her mother after their divorce.

helpwithNGFplease Fri 05-Jun-20 21:43:20


I remember your last thread about him, you got similar answers there I think that outlined how unlikely it would be.

It’s clearly something that worries you, sorry this is taking up so much headspace. Has he done anything that might indicate he will pursue this?

I think it must have been someone else with a similar problem because this is my first time posting about this issue.

I really don't know if he would or not. He is making it an issue at the moment and I just want to be prepared. I usually try to see the best in people but this has left me and my husband vulnerable to him in the past. I don't think he really wants to spend time with his grandchild but he hates that we would have the audacity to deny him his rights.

He is so entitled and selfish that I worry he would do something like this to harass us just for entertainment and to punish us for disobeying him.

OP’s posts: |
Speeding201700 Fri 05-Jun-20 21:44:48

As someone who tormented herself about this for several years, I would like to tell you not to worry.

I had my first child with a man who died. He turned into the most abusive nasty piece of work. His family joined in with him. When he died, his mother tried to go to court to get access. I was terrified thinking that because her son was dead that they'd feel sorry for her. Grandparents have to apply to the court for permission to apply to court. She didn't get that permission. I moved away. 15 years later and 4 more beautiful children with my wonderful husband, it is but a distant memory. My husband adopted my first born too smile I was a bit worried the adoption court would want to talk to the paternal grandmother during the adoption. They didn't.

Please don't worry

helpwithNGFplease Fri 05-Jun-20 21:48:49


Thank you for sharing your experience. This is exactly what I am concerned about! As Windyatthebeach asked, did your parents have regular unsupervised contact before? Or was there some other basis for the decision?

OP’s posts: |
Swiftsseason Fri 05-Jun-20 21:56:25

I know each situation is different and the chances maybe slim but clearly in many cases they do get access.

Op I worry about about this too and your fil sounds extremely similar to mine, ie outwardly perhaps seemingly upstanding member of society but himself and his wife have taken a child, thier son who should have had every advantage in life and they destroyed his self confidence because he doesn't fit in with the it naff '' image ''

It's toxic being around them and it's not healthy for dc but if they tried for rights I think it would be quite a battle

Swiftsseason Fri 05-Jun-20 22:00:11

As for wider family yes.. It's destroyed the relations. Even dh grandma who lived in a different country wouldn't visit him unless he saw her at pils.

Uncles, cousins.. All about to visit us were cut off.
Dh didn't have strong ties or relationships with them but its sad for the dc.

Rainbowshine Fri 05-Jun-20 22:01:12

@helpwithNGFplease you’re referring to “flying monkeys” in regards to other family members and I’d recommend looking at the Stately Homes threads on the relationships board on here. I know that isn’t legal advice but these things don’t happen just in legal processes they are everyday issues.

Windyatthebeach Fri 05-Jun-20 22:07:52

I was under the impression gps had to have had a relationship of at least 2 years(unsupervised and overnight) that would remain beneficial for the dc to continue despite relationship break downs of adult relationships /marriage..

Advice of my barrister in the past..

Swiftsseason Fri 05-Jun-20 23:32:58

Windy that would terrify me my in laws had to have dc alone.. And brainwashed them to want to stay over night but then dc hated it.

I wonder does the actual adult child's relationship with their parents count. Ie
... Your dh doesn't get on with them for valid reasons ie not just because he is left and they are daily mail tories...

Would that count?

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