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Grandparents' rights

(10 Posts)
October2014Baby Wed 24-May-17 22:12:13

My DH and MIL have always had a poor relationship. I think she has mental health issues, inc anxiety and a need to control situations (but maybe that's because she's my MIL!). She frequently criticises our parenting and has questioned even our relationship, saying I treat my DH like a doormat as I work full time while my DH looks after our children (who are 1 and 2). She apparently suggested I was cheating on my DH when I had to go away for 2 nights on a work conference!

We have never and would never stop our DC seeing her. We also don't say anything negative to her or about her in front of our DC as we don't want to spoil the relationship they have. However, we're keen to minimise her poisonous and negative vibes. For this reason, DH agrees to see her in public places while I'm at work and has said she's no longer welcome in our house as she is so negative and argumentative in front of our DC. She usually sees them every 1-2 weeks for the afternoon, either at park:play area/ restaurant, usually within a day or two of her asking. Previously, MIL looked after our eldest as a baby one day a week but this became less frequent due to her own commitments (she doesn't work, but often cancelled as she had a gym class or doctors appt on the days she was due to have her). Occasionally, she looked after our youngest until he was approx 4mo.

MIL has said she wants to take us to court for more access to our DC, but suggested mediation first which we have so far declined. We've declined it mainly because she hasn't said exactly what she hopes to achieve although suggested that she wants my DH and DC to get to her house more often. She refuses to be specific and has even suggested she won't put anything in writing (even a text) without legal advice first. She also said today that she has 'evidence', i.e a photo of them in their car seats without the straps fastened correctly-I have absolutely no idea what she's referring to here but can't help feel she's trying to build some sort of case against us for being somehow negligent!

Should I accept she's barking? Does she need help-seriously? Is there a chance our DC might be forced to go there without our supervision? Or worse? Any advice would be much appreciated.

KERALA1 Wed 24-May-17 22:15:37

My understanding is no such thing as grandparents right in this country. Certainly not in these circumstances. You are much more patient than I would be.

She sounds mentally unwell.

MissCookiee Wed 24-May-17 22:19:04

It does seem as though she has some mental issues. I doubt the courts would take a case like this seriously but if you think she's building up a case to make you and your DH look as though you're neglecting your DC then maybe make up a case proving that she's unwell and keep diary of arguments she starts in front of your children.

I don't think to my knowledge that she'll be able to take you to court over visitation rights because I think that just occurs between parents and not grandparents

BandeauSally Wed 24-May-17 22:23:58

I have been through court for grandparent access to my DC. It was granted in my situation (I was opposing it due to violence in the house and threats of violence against my family) My son was around 9 months old when contact was stopped by me and it was granted by a judge when he was around 17 months. The reasons it was granted was because a) DCs father was absent and the judge felt it was important that DC maintanted a link with paternal family and b) DC had been seeing grandparents weekly from around 4 months old until around 9 months old and this was considered an established relationship by the judge. Despite the fact it had been longer that DC had gone without contact than had been having it. DC didn't know them at all when contacted as resumed. The judge dismissed the concerns of violence and threats of violence as irrelevant because they weren't directed at my DC.

Contact was initially supervised by me for the first 4 sessions and was held in public place. After that grandparents were able to take Dc to their own house unsupervised. They were given weekly contact.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Wed 24-May-17 22:26:57

She is bonkers. .
Block her and let dh sort out her seeing the dc. I hope these trips aren't unsupervised or you are giving her the chance to fill their heads with shit about you and their df!! She would have to have had A LOT of unsupervised time and a fantastic relationship with your dc to have her case heard by a judge.
And the fact that she sees them now although strained - they would likely laugh her out of court.

October2014Baby Wed 24-May-17 23:13:50

Thank you! I feel much better seeing these replies. Sorry you had to go through that Sally, I hope its all worked out now. Many thanks again for taking the time to reply.

I will update if there are any 'dramas' to report!

BandeauSally Wed 24-May-17 23:16:46

TBH based on what I have heard from others since then I think I was just really unlucky on that day to get the judge I got. Also I think my solicitor was quite shit.

Things are running smoothly now but it was very difficult for quite some time.

CustardLover Wed 24-May-17 23:37:19

This is spookily familiar but with my mother, not MIL. I can't advise as I am going through something similar where my own DM is ranting about taking me to court (she turned up at my 5yo's school last week demanding to see the headteacher to tell her that my DH was a liar...) but I feel confident, I hope not naively, that surely a solicitor would advise her that being a grandparent is not a right but a privilege. It's shitty isn't it? Sending you good vibes and flowers

October2014Baby Thu 25-May-17 07:42:20

Gosh Custard, it's absurd isn't it? Sending good vibes back at you!

October2014Baby Thu 25-May-17 07:44:07

Glad to hear things are settled Sally, must have been super tough at the start

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