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Please help Widowed and being taken to court by husband's family

(22 Posts)
2Cute Sun 03-Aug-08 08:38:40

I have also posted this in the legal section.... I'm not sure if this anybody here could help me but I am desperate so any help is sincerely appreciated. My husband suddenly passed away 11 months ago and I have been harassed by his family since. (There is evidence of this). They have threatened me etc as they are after my marital home. There was a history of violence as they abused my husband and treated myself and my own 4 year old son badly. They were issued with harassment warnings by the police which they have continued to breaach but I am too scared of obtaining an injunction because it means having to face them in court, My son was so afraid of them that he did not feel safe anymore as his dad was no longer here to protect us from them. We had to move in with my parents until he felt safe enough to go home. We have had to put up CCTV cameras, a porch etc at my home because of them and my son was finally settling back and feeling safe again. Now they have applied for a contact order to see him, lying that they had a close relationship with him, He is petrified of them and I promised him I would never let them near him or hurt him ever again. How can I keep that promise now? I cannot understand how Grandparents rights can prevail over a child's rights or a mother's right to keep her child safe. Now I am going to have to face them in court and I cannot stress how afraid I am. Everything they did to us in the past is coming flooding back and I can't cope with this on top of losing my husband. I don't know where to run too, if I run where can I hide and how long for before either the authorities or the in laws find us. Is there anybody who can help us? Sorry for the lengthy message.

RubySlippers Sun 03-Aug-08 08:41:26

have you got a solictor?

presumably the police have a record of all your complaints etc so these would be presented in court to so the relationship is far from how they paint it?

I am so sorry you are going through this - sounds horrendous sad

are your parents supportive of you?

of course you want to run away, but it isn't the answer

hope someone with more advice is along soon

Bumperlicious Sun 03-Aug-08 08:54:03

No advice for you 2cute, but what an awful situation. I hope someone has some advice for you.

I know you are scared of facing them in court but if that's what you have to do to protect your son is it worth doing?

savoycabbage Sun 03-Aug-08 09:02:32

What an awful, awful situation. I hope that there will be somebody along soon who can help you.

2Cute Sun 03-Aug-08 09:11:15

Thank you. Ruby, luckily my parents are local and they have been an amazing support. The police have been really unhelful but they do have a record of everything atleast so I can use that. No solicitor yet as I just got back Friday night from a month away with my DS to help build our strength up to deal with life without DH. Any recommendations, I am in West London?

You're right bumperlicious, it is something I have to do but they are such good actors and I just hope the judge can see trough it. I just didn't want to do anything that'll make things worse. Even a senior police officer told me that sometimes it's better to put up with things rather than take them to court as this could make the other party angry and make matters worse?! Great advice from our ever helpful police force.

Evenstar Sun 03-Aug-08 09:13:26

No experience of this, but please with the support of your family get legal advice and face this, in the light of all that has gone on I would have thought it was very unlikely that your DH's parents would be allowed to see your son. As Ruby Slippers says do the police or any other authorities have a record of all this, if your DH was abused as a child was this on record? I hope someone can help you. So sorry that this has happened to you at a time when you already have enought to bear.

RubySlippers Sun 03-Aug-08 09:13:44

Glad you have your parents to help you

I would speak to your CAB and see who they can recommend - i am in Essex so not sure of west london solicitors

I know of someone (they had a child) whose grandparents tried for a contact order and they failed (much less serious situation than yours)

TotalChaos Sun 03-Aug-08 09:16:55

You might also find it helpful to speak to Women's Aid, they should offer advice/support with this sort of situation.

2Cute Sun 03-Aug-08 09:20:46

That's reassuring Ruby.

Evenstar, I tried contacting the police a few times but the senior officer dealing with it doesn't bother returning my calls. Another officer (unofficially) advised me to put a complaint in against the police for the way they are handling this. It's such a struggle. No record of the abuse. The neighbours that used to live next door to DH when he was a child witnessed the abuse but they are elderly so I don't know if they are prepared to give a statement or how to locate them.

onlyjoking Sun 03-Aug-08 09:21:53

2cute, firstly I am so sorry you husband died.
With regards to the outlaws is sounds like they are trying to use your son as a point scoring exercise to get at you, you & your son must be so frightened.
All I can suggest is to report all incidents phonecalls messages build up all evidence, I expect the police have a log of incidents too, I don't think there is any way your son can be forced to see his grandparents given the history. If I were you I would get a solicitor involved.
feel free to email or Cat me, my husband had cancer and was ill for 10 months before he died 7 weeks ago, throughout steve illness I have had a lot of verbal abuse and other nasty stuff from the outlaws leading me to change the locks and have caller display on my phone, I am expecting at some point to have battles over the kids.
I really feel for you dealing with the grief of your husbands death your sons grief and the grief the outlaws are giving you too it is beyond unbearable.
Did your husband have a will?.

savoycabbage Sun 03-Aug-08 09:23:23

I was in a situation where I thought the police would help me but they were useless.

2Cute Sun 03-Aug-08 09:26:36

I'm so so sorry for your loss aswell. I changed my numbers etc aswell. These kind of people are just sick.

He had a will but they are contesting it claiming that there is a secret will in which he leaves nothing to me or my son. This has meant that all our accounts etc have been frozen since he passed away, so all that is going to court in a few weeks aswell.

Evenstar Sun 03-Aug-08 09:34:11

This is awful for you, but I think you really need to get proper legal advice, regarding the will situation as well. Even if there is another will, I would think you had good grounds to contest that yourself as normally a wife and child would have the best claim on the husband's assets. I am so sorry for your loss and this dreadful situation sad

Dilberta Sun 03-Aug-08 09:45:33

various forums say grandparents have no rights and going to court is lengthy and expensiive and any documented abusive evidence you have will go against them.
This is an interetsing thread
http://www.parentscentre.gov.uk/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=22&threadid=21216 here]]
get a solicitor.

onlyjoking Sun 03-Aug-08 09:52:16

have you joined the merry widows forum? They are helpful bunch and I am sure will be able to advise you from their own experiences.

mamamufin Sun 03-Aug-08 09:53:42

Sorry about your predicament. I suggest you make a formal complaint to the Police and ask them to bring a harassment case against your relatives. You say you have evidence. This is a criminal matter. If thepolice are not interested, write to the Senior Police Office for the Division with a copy to the Chioef Constable and you may be surprised how quickly the local police become interested! If your relatives are convicted, the prosecution can apply for a restraining order. Such an order will seriously damage their attempts to obtain a contact order. Additionally, you wont have to face them in court. The prosecution can apply for special measures. This means you can give evidence behind a screen which means you cannot see them or via a television link were you wont be in the court room (and you cant see them). This is an alternative to a civil injunction. (The above info is from DH who is a lawyer but it is only general advice. He suggests speaking to a Solicitor as well).

RuffleTheAnimal Sun 03-Aug-08 09:54:45

bloody hell, this sounds absolutely awful. i cant imagine what makes people behave so hideously and im so sorry you, and OJ, are having to go through this on top of your own bereavements. either of those things are more than enough to be dealing with!sad
no advice, but best wishes to you both.

DutchOma Sun 03-Aug-08 12:24:10

Also post a copy of your letter of complaint about the police to your MP.
You can find them by typing in your postcode and Member of Parliament.

smallwhitecat Sun 03-Aug-08 12:42:56

Message withdrawn

Roboshua Sun 03-Aug-08 12:50:59

2cute. Awful situation I feel so sorry for you. they have been

However advice as follows:

1.You say they have been issued with harassment warnings by the Police which they have breached. Have you actually officially reported these breaches??? I am slightly confused because you say you don't want get an injunction because that would mean having to face them in court. However if you bring a criminal prosection for harassment or whatever then you will also have to stand up in court and give evidence. Are you calling the Police and then saying you won't give a statement and go to court?? If so there's not a lot they can do. Having said all that if you do want to go down the criminal route you need to provide a statment but you can apply for special measures as a vulnerable or intimidated witness. In that case there are certain things that can be offered (depending on the circs) such as screens in court or the possibility you could give evidence via video link. If they are convicted of harassment they can then be issued with a restraining order but again you need to provide written statements and attend court.

2. You can also get an injucntion which can be sometimes more more appropriate in matters such as this. Not knowing your full circumstances it is not clear what the harassment and threats amount to. If the threats are to do with obtaining your marital home or seeing your son and they are going through proper legal channels to do so then it really needs to be sorted out through the civil courts. There is a specific defence in the criminal harassment act whereby the 'harrasser' has a legal right or belief of such to make the threats.

Roboshua Sun 03-Aug-08 12:52:36

Further to the last. Whatever you do you need a solictor and if the Police are not doing what they should they can make a complaint on your behalf.

rosmerta Sun 03-Aug-08 15:18:56

2cute, I've emailed you

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