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Grandparent Seeking Shared Custody - Parents Together

(46 Posts)
london32 Tue 27-Oct-15 13:23:40


My children's grandmother lived with my husand and I and our children for 5yrs. We employed her like an aupair. She has had depression for 40yrs (diagnosed SAD) and has never been able to hold down work so it was mutually beneficial.

Last Autumn the seasonal affective disorder/ depression was terrible and negatively impacted my two eldest chldren a lot.
She said awful things to the eldest and was angry and frightening to another one. We told her she culd no longer provide paid childcare for them.

She moved out of the shared house. Then started court access.
She wants a whole weekend per month at her home 100miles away (children are 1 3 6). Also custody at christmas and all school holidays.
I did allow her to see the children with me after she moved out, but she behaved very strangely (whispering comments to children, saying one is her favourite, etc).

The first court hearing said she has rights to a DHRA (as she lived with them for 5yr). My husband has broken both of his ankles and is in a wheelchair for next 3m but court had to ask her permission to adjourn it and she said no.

I work FT and having 3 young kids and being husbands carer means I haven't had time to instruct a solicitor (also thougt family courts u were meant to represent yourself).

She will perfom well for a pscyhiatric assessment (can act). I don't know how else to prove our word agaianst hers? I had an ed psych assessment for eldest child due to anxiety but not directly attributable in written words to this grandparent.

Children don't want to see her, said she shouts a lot and is scary and only liked one of them.

Can anyone help?

MumOnTheRunAgain Tue 27-Oct-15 18:19:29

Wow this is scary stuff!

She wants them all Xmas and every Xmas? Is she driving down to collect the DC and then return them?

VegasIsBest Tue 27-Oct-15 18:23:32

I don't know anything about the law, but this is bonkers. How can a grandparent possibly demand custody like this.

If this was me, I'd take a half day from work and get to a good lawyer asap to shut this down. They are your children, you need to make that really clear. If she sees that you are fighting back assertively she may just give up?

Good luck with this.

Booboostwo Tue 27-Oct-15 19:35:37

I am astounded that you have not instructed a solicitor! How could you possibly deal with this yourself efficiently and what will happen if you make a mistake? I would imagine it is fine to represent yourself in family court in an uncontested matter but with such a bizarre and dangerous request being made by the GM it is madness not to have the best lawyer you can afford. Get a lawyer tomorrow.

MumOnTheRunAgain Tue 27-Oct-15 19:51:49

Can someone without PR even expect this?

fuzzywuzzy Tue 27-Oct-15 19:55:37

You need to take this seriously and instruct solicitors immediately. See if you can seek costs against her.

Use annual leave, but don't not go to court she'll get everything she asks if you do that.

This is crazy.

Mintyy Tue 27-Oct-15 19:59:35

Good Lord, what sort of law even covers a scenario like this? How has she managed to get it to court? Had you previously banned her from seeing the children?

london32 Tue 27-Oct-15 20:36:26


No she is very odd and cannot socially
Communicate / answer phone (suspected Aspergers).

I arranged contact twice and both times she ignored me and whispered things to kids and kept saying 'come for a sleepover at my house' even when I said no.

Once I said no to this, she doesn't want anything else eg to see me/ visits to cafes. She wants them alone with her (although she 100% cannot cope, finds sensory issues/ noise difficult).

She then got my sister to email
Me asking
To take children to Wales for one week to stay with them my sisters partner and someone else I hadn't met. When I said a remote cottage with strangers for a whole week (baby was just turned 1), she instructed solicitors the next week.

I've just been sidelined with shock (was hospitalised with stress) then husband broke both ankles and just have so much to do I don't have time to think.

VegasIsBest Tue 27-Oct-15 22:11:41

It does sound like you are overloaded. But nothing is more important than your kids and your family. Could you husband make phone calls to find a suitable lawyer then you take some time off work to see them?

VimFuego101 Wed 28-Oct-15 01:34:51

The key with these cases is whether the grandparent had a significant relationship with the child, which it seems the court has acknowledged. I would keep all documentation to show you offered her reasonable access, and consult a lawyer.

london32 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:49:21

Thanks for the advice
Can anyone recommend a family solicitor experienced in this type of thing (grandparent custody) from the parents ' view? They all seem to be for separated parents, and representing the paternal grandparents.

How could I get costs against her? It's just I am the only one being paid at present and I am a temp so if I'm not in work, I don't get paid. I reckon she's spent �3000 already easily.

Anastasie Wed 28-Oct-15 10:57:42

Bloody hell.

Is she trying to hold the hospitalisation against you? Claim you are unfit parents?

I don't see how she can even have got this far tbh.

london32 Wed 28-Oct-15 11:20:37

Hi Anastasie,

No she doesnt know about the hospitalisation (only happened after she sent 4 different legeal emails/ letters within 2 days and had 2 bundles of docs couriered over, the last one adding 'christmas custody' at 10pm the night before a deadline).

She doesnt care whatsoever about me, us, the children. She is undiagnosed autisitc and just going for what she wants. She thinks theyre her children. Whatever, shes in a bad place.

She isn't saying we are unfit parents at all. Ticked the 'no safeguarding issues of parents' box on the first form.

She is claiming an underactive thryoid condition [me] led me to have low mood and stop her from looking after the children. And that she shuld have had overnight unsupervised access whenever and however she likes [even when she is ignoring me and my husband].

This court action is just an extension of her belief that she is a 3rd parent who has lots of rights, no responsibilities, and can behave however she wants in front of them/ to them.

Anastasie Wed 28-Oct-15 12:06:07

Gosh how strange. I am glad she doesn't know you were hospitalised. Try and keep from mentioning that to anyone who might pass it on in case she tries to use it against you.

By the way I would be interested to know what makes you think she has autism.Be careful before you use that (suggested) diagnosis in your legal arguments if it has no basis in medical evidence. It could make things worse for you iyswim.

(I am very likely autistic, and would never behave like this!)

traviata Wed 28-Oct-15 12:16:14

unfortunately it is very very unlikely that you would get costs against her even if she gets none of her demands.

Are CAFCASS involved?

london32 Wed 28-Oct-15 12:53:24

Thanks for the advice.

She does have depression, diagnosed SAD and on anti depressants all of her adult life. But GP has only known her 10months and she produced a note last time, Im guessing saying she is fine, or confirming the anti depressants for SAD.

Cafcass are involved. And said she can ask for whatever she likes but doesn't mean she'll get it. But to be honest they haven't suggested anything, even when my husband is in hospital for 10 days, they didn't suggest or help with adjourning the court. And my mum was given the option to refuse adjourning the case.

Children have 7 other grandparents (3 greats, all our other parents are divorced and re married) so I am hoping this will be taken into account as need to see everyone and all live 1-3hr away.

Other than Cafcass talking to the 2 children (eldest especially will remember and says lots of the odd things her nan said/ did), 3yr old just says she shouts at him.. I don't know what else I can do to prove she cannot be unsupervised with the children. Any ideas?

Anastasie Wed 28-Oct-15 15:07:04

Keep a log of every little thing, by date and time. Everything. write down as much as you can remember. That's all I can think of but it is important.

You didn't clarify on the autism question?

BeautifulLiar Wed 28-Oct-15 15:13:45

I think she'll get contact
My own abusive parents went for it ffs and our solicitor said they'd get it, so we didn't go to court. They get one weekend a month (and then my dad moved to the Middle East - yeh really committed!)

I have a third party meet my mum - usually DH or a friend.

Ricardian Sun 01-Nov-15 08:58:07

The moral of these stories is "grandparents: keep them at a distance". Over on Gransnet there is an endless long running series of threads with titles like "cut out of their lives" where clearly completely unhinged grandparents with deep issues lament the fact that their children have, quite sensibly, decided they are a menace to grandchildren.

Rather as the main effect of children conceived by sperm donation demanding the right to know who their father is has been the almost complete cessation of sperm donation in the UK, the main effect of the rise of grandparents' "rights" campaigns is going to be that the wise, perfectly ordinary parent will make bloody certain that no grandparent establishes grounds for making such claims.

BeautifulLiar Sun 01-Nov-15 09:04:47

I agree, Ricardian.

My mother thinks DS is hers.
She is only interested in DS, not my daughters.
She has treated me like absolute shit, in front of the DC.
She does NOT put the DC first - only herself.
She had severe mental health problems throughout my childhood and is extremely controlling and manipulative.

Very unhinged!!

BlackGirlAndRobin Sun 01-Nov-15 09:14:35

Wow. I didn't know this was even legally possible.

Would you be able to get an expert not GP confirm ASD or any other mental illness deeming her unsuitable for unsupervised access? I assume it would cost a fair bit but it may be a sure fire way of shutting all this down quickly.

PrettyBrightFireflies Sun 01-Nov-15 09:17:38

The fact that is this the DCs grandparent is irrelevant, the Children's Act is clear that any adult who has lived with a DC for over two years has the automatic "right" to apply for contact with the DC. That includes paid childcarers, extended family and partners of parents/siblings etc.

CAFCASS will determine whether continuing the relationship is in the DCs best interests. I think it's very unlikely that the court will award the level of contact being requested, but equally, I think some contact, maybe indirect through letters, Skype, etc, is likely to be ordered unless there is clear evidence that it would be damaging to the DCs.

Taylor22 Sun 01-Nov-15 09:40:36

Will the children's views been taken into account?
She will not get overnights with the 1 yo. Fathers don't get that at that age.
Writ down anything the children say about her shouting or being afraid of her.
You have got to get your butt in gear be get good legal advice. Cut contact between her and the children!
I've read that gransnet thread (crazy!) and one Gran who took her daughter to court said that one of the reasons she lost is because she had not maintained a good enough relationship with the children in a while. This was when the court case was being dealt with. Cut all contact with her and only discuss things through solicitors.

Stuffofawesome Sun 01-Nov-15 09:51:04

Maybe these people can help

hopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 01-Nov-15 09:52:28

Write down the Times you offered to meet her and she refused.

Write down all the times you remember her behaving strangely, the children reporting this.

From now on keep a contemporous diary of every contact from her.

Arrange to see other grandparents regularly, so it is clear that she can't have 1/4 weekends, as that would jeopardise contact with their wider family.

Suggest a 'reasonable' contact if asked to in court- Skype, letters, seeing the kids with you or DH present.

Don't let her be alone with them before the court case, in case she persuades them to not be honest in their interviews, it's important that the children are,free to express their true opinions of Granny to the carcass workers.

Definitely take legal advice.

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