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grandparents - married couples

(16 Posts)
bobblewobble Sun 31-Jul-11 09:56:10

Hi can anyone help me please? Can grandparents get contact with grandchildren age 1 and 3 if they have never seen or spoken to either before, due to a family feud before first pregnancy?
TIA

Marjoriew Sun 31-Jul-11 10:15:35

Grandparents don't have any right of contact with grandchildren. They can, however, apply to the court for leave to apply for a contact order.
Your children are still young yet. Have you thought about the rights of your children to have a relationship with their grandparents? You would have to have very good reasons not to allow contact and a court may not agree with those reasons.

Collaborate Sun 31-Jul-11 11:26:59

The way the law stands at present means there need not be a good reason. Let me clarify that. If the parent is the cause of the bad blood with the grandparent that doesn't alter the fact that forcing the parents to allow grandparental contact might be damaging to the child. It's not for the parent to show that contact will be harmful. It's for the grandparent to demonstrate a real benefit.

bobblewobble Sun 31-Jul-11 11:44:51

As a couple we do not believe it is in the best interests of the children to have contact with the grandparents. They were abusive to my husband growing up although social services, unfortunately were never involved. He never had severe beatings as such but punishments would include a slap across the face, thrown up the stairs, thrown onto his bed etc. He once had a wardrobe thrown at him in temper. He remembers this from around the age of six, although he believe this was the norm in growing up until he had our first child where he said he could never do such a thing to our child.

Before the eldest was 1 we tried to sort things out. (our solicitor told us not to but we wanted to) The agreement was phone calls with my husband until he was comfortable enough and trusted them enough to meet up with them. Once he then believed they had changed he would introduce them to our eldest child.
This did not go to plan, they tried to bully him into meeting sooner, which he reluctantly agreed. They wanted overnight contact with the eldest (9 months old at the time) 5 days after first phone contact, which was not going to happen (they wanted to pick him up, drop us off at a gig they had found and look after baby overnight) - we had never left the baby with anyone before. They also wanted photographs to know what he looked like before meeting him?

When my husband backed out of meeting up with them so soon, they got all agressive. He calmly told them that they would not be having our child unsupervised due to his childhood. They denied any wrong doing. Continued being aggresive and said they couldn't give a fuck (sorry to swear) if they saw my husband or the child again.
Over a year down the line we have another child and they want contact again?

(sorry it's long)

BooyHoo Sun 31-Jul-11 11:52:49

i have been through this in court. while people generally have this idea that grandparents have no rights to contact, i found this not to be the case. the judge didn't entertain for one second the fact that my son's paternal grandfather is verbally and physically abusive to his wife and children, nor that he physically threatened my cousin who was 12 at the time. the judge asked if he had ever threatened to harm my son and i said no so he responded that all other violent behaviour or threats were irrelevant to his application for contact with my son. my son now has to visit them twice a fortnight by court order.

Marjoriew Sun 31-Jul-11 11:55:10

I wouldn't let them within an inch of the children if I were you. They sound like a grandkid's worst nightmare.

bobblewobble Sun 31-Jul-11 12:05:25

We do not plan to let them, although we often sit down and have discussions of how things could be and would have been good for the children to have a bigger family. Part of us feels they should see them but then all the bad things they have done make us realise they shouldn't.

He has lots of aunties and uncles but due to my husband not wanting contact with his parents they do not want to know. His paternal grandmother was told if she wanted contact to phone us and we would arrange for her to come down, however she turned up almost 5 months after her first visit and tated she thought she would only come on special occasions. She was politely told, she either bothers all the time or not at all. Needless to say we have not seen her since.

We worry that they will get contact (as far as we know they have not yet applied to court) It has been a stressful 4 years for us. (the police were involved on a couple of occasions but would not intervene as they said it was a court matter) After all the threats of violence at the beginning we were asked if we would like to take things further but we said no as we were afraid it would cause more trouble. But we regretted that after sad He has no proof of the abuse he put up with as a child and their whole family stick together, so would never stick up for him.

bobblewobble Sun 31-Jul-11 12:07:55

BooyHoo that is awful sad Is the contact supervised?
Our solicitor said there was a 50/50 chance they will get contact. But that was almost 2 years ago. There is nothing else she can do for us unless they start being violent again.

BooyHoo Sun 31-Jul-11 12:17:26

it was initially for the first 4 sessions. i had to meet with just the grandmother in our local library and sit a short space away for 4 sessions then back to court for the judge to say i had to leave them alone for an hour for 4 sessions. i knew where it was heading but my solicitor pretty much told me i had to agree or i would be in breach of the court order because the judge WAS going to make the order regardless. the whole thing still infuriates me, i physically vomitted the first time i had to let my son go to their house knowing that man was there. it has been 4 years now and thankfully my ds has never suggested anything scary or violent has happened whilst he has been there.

bobblewobble Mon 01-Aug-11 11:27:28

Can I ask how often do they now have contact and if it is overnight please? It's crazy that we can not do what we believe is the best for our children sad

BooyHoo Mon 01-Aug-11 13:34:10

it's twice a fortnight and no, there has never been overnight contact. never requested from them and i would have to seriously consider it before agreeing to that if it ever was requested. i think if their dad lived there full time i would feel alot more comfortable about them being there but as it is i just have to hope that the grandfather is holding hsi temper while tehy are there, although i know children get more trying as they get older so i am ever more vigilant. it is so hard when you know you are doing your best yet a judge just sits there and makes a decision without knowing the reality of the situation at all.

bobblewobble Mon 01-Aug-11 13:42:01

Was their dad agreeing with you or them? Twice a fortnight is a lot for grandparents, I know dads that get less than that.

BooyHoo Mon 01-Aug-11 13:45:24

at the time i wasn't in contact with him. he backed his parents but i wasn't able to speak with him or contact him. he is in the forces and had very little to do with our son (we have a second son together now-long story). yes i think it is alot too but this is what was put to me by the judge and i even argued back in court that they weren't his parents, just grandparents but i got a filthy look from the judge and was told the order was being made i could either sign it and agree or be in breach of the order. my solicitor was crap IMO.

Collaborate Tue 02-Aug-11 00:44:29

The fact that BooyHoo's ex wasn't seeing the children meant that the only way for the children w=to maintain a link with the paternal side of the family was through the grandparents. that's a significant factor.

BooyHoo Tue 02-Aug-11 08:10:30

if it hadn't been for the violence i would have totally supported them having ds, regularly. i dont think the need for a link with a paternal family is more important than putting the child at risk. i would have been happy for the grandmother, aunts and extended family to see my son. it was the grandfather that worried me. i asked the judge to consider contact without him present. i would have facilitated that in my home. he wouldn't.

bobblewobble Tue 02-Aug-11 14:26:22

Other than my husband the children have no other link to the paternal family side.

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