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Estranged grandparents access rights?(12 Posts)
Hi, I know I'm probably getting wound up about nothing but hoping someone can calm me down.
My "dad" left my mum when I was about 8. Mum always encouraged contact and myself and siblings saw him on and off for years. I chose to go completely nc at about 11. My youngest sibling still sees him, middle child doesn't. He is very controlling and manipulative and sued for custody claiming my mum was poisoning us against him. After a long time CAFCASS finally interviewed us and produced a massive report documenting a history of abuse - not sexual but occasional violent and emotional on a daily basis. Court ruled that two eldest need not have any contact if we chose not to and youngest could continue at a level they were happy with.
Anyway! Cut to now I'm pregnant with my first child and youngest sibling has asked if my email address can be passed on as "dad" wants to contact. I allowed for the sake of my sibling as I knew it would be hell for them if they didn't. Cue email from "dad" asking to be a grandparent and have access. Neither myself or my dh want this to happen and will fight it. However "dad" has a history of taking things to court and being a pillar of his community getting what he wants. It's like people don't see who he really is.
Anyway, if you've stuck with me you're amazing! Does he have any rights to sue for access? Google keeps saying yes unless we can prove that it will be a dangerous situation for the child. Scaring the crap out of me.
I could be wrong as I'm basing this on PIL who invent things to suit themselves. Their two eldest GC were placed in the care of the maternal grandparents when they were young children. Maternal GP refused to allow PIL to see them. PIL sought advice from solictor who said they did not have a case because Grandparents rights don't exist in the way any people think.
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
He has the right to apply to the court for permission to start a case to gain access, but the likelihood of it even getting past that stage is remote if both parents are in agreement and there is history (i.e. cafcass report etc.).
N.B: I'm not in the family law field, but have spoken to a solicitor at length about this very same issue about 18 months ago.
He'll get nowhere as he doesn't have an established relationship with them. Just block him and ignore everything.
I went through a sticky patch with my mum when pregnant with my first. She threatened grandparents rights, continually. I actually took advice, this was nearly 14 years ago though. My understanding was that the only time grandparents can claim rights is if they can show they've been a sustained active part of raising the child/ children i.e. been principal childcare for several years then parents separated and access maliciously denied.
From my experience access will only be granted through the court if the grandparent has been a constant in the child's life and they can prove it would be detrimental to the child to stop contact.
They do encourage mediation but just refuse contact and don't give them a chance to build a relationship.
It's a long and expensive process that he is unlikely to win so I wouldn't worry too much.
(Disclaimer - My experience was my
bitch mother in the early 2000s)
Thank you everyone that's really helped. The stuff online is like trying to see through mud. Luckily this is the one thing me and my mil actually agree on and she has more than enough to help us get a decent solicitor if it comes to it and would be a fantastic help (she's like a pitbull lol) so I'm not worried about the fight - although could do without the stress. Just the outcome but hopefully as he has no contact and never will have that should stand in good stead!
Just wish my youngest sibling would wake up a bit as I hate he makes life miserable for them
You shouldn't have given out your email address for the sake of your sibling.
After all, would he/she cut contact for your sake?!
Stop all communication now and he won't have a leg to stand on.
As above, he would need to apply for permission first. I think his chances of getting a contact order are remote given that as a child you had the right to have nothing more to do with him, and for good reason. It would seem not be in the best interest of any of your children to be forced in to a relationship with him.
Interesting and what if GP relations break down? Or were only there due to sheer desperation? How on earth could any court evaluate this?
Change your email address!
And make it clear no one gives it out again.
He has no relationship with your DC, he was abusive to you and it is documented. He won't get far in court. Don't agree access informally as you are just giving him grounds later to use that. If you and DH agree regarding your DC and NC with him, he won't be successful if he actually does apply to court and probably as a 'pillar of the community' won't want to put himself through that with all the unsavoury disclosures about him that will be made in (FJS so grantedly closed) proceedings.
It is stress you don't need but you'd get your say and you are standing up for your DC. What better reason as what is the alternative? Don't be bullied.
Your situ is V different to one where a grandparent had regular contact and parents unreasonably stopped contact.
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