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Son not allowed to see daughter

(17 Posts)
midlandsmumof4 Thu 09-Oct-08 01:36:34

My son has a daughter (our first GD) by his ex partner. Our GD is now 18 months old & we haven't seen her since the beginning of August when son's partner left him & went back to her parents (for the 4th time since she was born). He has not seen his daughter since then either. They are not married but he has PR. I just want to talk to someone in the sme situation really cos I am really devastated. Anybody?

RambleOn Thu 09-Oct-08 02:02:39

How awful for you sad

Why has your son not seen her? Is he taking any legal steps to get contact?

ShesMyWoo Thu 09-Oct-08 02:16:20

sad midland

I agree with Ramble. You son needs to see a solicitor.

mumoverseas Thu 09-Oct-08 05:09:13

I am not in the same situation but hope I can offer some advice.
You and your son need to seriously consider making an application to the local County Court for a defined Contact Order. However, prior to doing this, you should write to his ex partner (either separately or together) requesting that you have contact with your GD. Is there any particular reason you have not had contact with her since? Has the ex refused to allow you/your son to see her? You should put your request for contact in writing and in the first instance, try to make it a nice 'friendly' letter saying how much you miss having her as part of your life etc etc. If this is ignored, or contact refused, you will then need to take the gloves off and say that unless you are allowed contact, you will need to consider instructing a solicitor and/or making an application to the Court (the first stages of the court application are relatively easy to do yourself in case you are worried about the costs of instructing a solicitor).
At the end of the day, if your son (and yourselves with him) were to make an application, the Courts paramount concern is the welfare of the child and the starting point is always that the child should have contact with both parents (and that parents family).
Try the informal letter approach first. She may just be really daft and it may not have occured to her that you and your son want to see your GD! Good luck

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-Oct-08 07:09:24

Hi,

This is all likely going to cost a lot of money as well as time. How determined is your son to regain access to his child?.

Your son may have more chance of seeing his daughter either through informal or legal means. Grandparents however, have no defined legal rights in law to see their grandchildren.

Even the courts cannot always bring about a happy reunion; it is often up to the Mother in question and some women do end up using the child as a weapon.

Grandparents Association are worth contacting; they have seen this type of scenario many times before now and could advise you further.

mumoverseas Thu 09-Oct-08 09:50:10

actually, it is possible for grandparents to make an application to the Court under s8 of the Children Act 1989. It is not common, but is possible. As set out above though, it would be preferable (and cheaper!) to resolve things amicably without the need to attend Court.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 09-Oct-08 13:11:39

Message withdrawn

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-Oct-08 13:51:29

I hope that this lady will be reasonable and will grant you access without you having to resort to the courts. The legal route is going to cost you a lot of time not just to say money. Even so courts cannot always guarantee a happy reunion.

The first step is to approach the child’s mother or father and explain that no matter what the problems are between the parents you as a grandparent do not intend to take sides but that you only wish to maintain contact with your grandchildren.

If that is not successful you can try mediation. For this to take place both sides have to agree to mediate. It is not a compulsory process although many Courts are now attempting to make it so.

The final resort is an application to the Court. Here grandparents are at a disadvantage compared to parents since there is no presumption of contact and it is necessary to apply for leave to make an application. This is the first hurdle. The parent may object in which case the Court must be persuaded, usually by way of a full hearing, that you had a meaningful and ongoing relationship with your grandchild and that it is in his or her best interests for your relationship with him or her to continue.

If that hurdle is crossed your application will then be considered. More often than not because of allegations being made there will be welfare issues to be determined and the Court will appoint a CAFCASS Officer to prepare a Report which will be presented to the Court. These take from between 12 – 16 weeks to complete. If the report is favourable, the mother may still not agree which will mean a full hearing with both sides having to give evidence.

What happens if the Court makes an order and the mother or father still does not allow contact?

Unfortunately, enforcing contact in the United Kingdom is extremely difficult. The Courts, in the past have been very reluctant to enforce orders, the remedy being to imprison mothers. They are becoming more robust but the situation is far from perfect.

It is important, therefore that when there are problems, legal advice is sought about the options open. Early advice will allow you to understand your options and act in an appropriate way so as not to unsettle what could be a very delicate situation.

newgirl Thu 09-Oct-08 14:24:51

i think all the legal advice sounds very serious - it wont be much fun for the child involved if they get to see their grandparent but there is a terrible atmosphere every time - tread very carefully!

there may be very good reasons why the son is not seeing the child very often, but it may not mean the grandparents can't

perhaps the op should call or email the mum and see how she is getting on - she may love to have regular babysitters etc and does not think she can contact you directly now?

mumoverseas Fri 10-Oct-08 06:00:06

yes newgirl, the legal advice does sound serious. That is because legal action is very serious and is a last resort, as Attila and myself have outlined above. We have also suggested that midlandsmum (and her son) try to resolve things amicably first, ie by contacting the mother and trying to arrange contact that way. Legal action is of course a last resort and may not be much fun for the child involved. However,if it is the only way that midlandsmum and her son can see their D/GD then it is something they will have to consider if they don't want to wait until she is 16 and can make her own decisions.
midlandsmum, I do hope that you manage to make contact with the mum and sort something out. Like newgirl has said, she might welcome a free babysitter. Good luck

midlandsmumof4 Fri 10-Oct-08 22:41:36

Thanks for the advice. We are already going down the legal road-in this case it is the only way unfortunately. She rang my son the week after leaving and said that if he was the loving father he claimed to be he would wait until his daughter was old enough to make up her own mind!! She applied to the court for a residency order & prohibitive steps which she got because he did not object. Our GD belongs with her mum-my son would just like to be able to see her regularly at his house. With regard to babysitting-this will never be an option for us. Apparently no-one can look after the baby as well as her mum. Apart from her own family.

quinne Sat 11-Oct-08 06:51:36

Could you write to your GDs mother and tell her how much you miss your GD. Ask her if you can see her and if not would she be at least willing to meet you for coffee/ phone/ write to you to tell you how she is and maybe give you some photos?
It might appeal to her better nature (which I imagine you doubt she has at the moment). On the sneakier level, I would keep a copy of such a letter for use later when you go down the legal road, in case this does not work. So be nice and show polite interest in the mother too i.e. write the letter in a way that makes you look like a very decent person and a very suitable back up for your son should there be any doubts over his ability to look after his DD alone when it reaches court.

mumoverseas Sat 11-Oct-08 07:11:46

midlandsmum, I don't understand why she had to apply for a Residence Order if your son did not object? The Courts don't tend to do this due to the 'no order principle' in that they will only make an order where it is essential, ie if there is a dispute. Sounds odd. Also, for what reason did she apply for a Prohibited Steps order?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 11-Oct-08 08:56:49

This dispute sounds very complicated; she is determined that your son has no contact by her words and actions. This woman has used the system to prevent contact between her Dad (your son) and his daughter. Why did your son not object or was he only told of these orders after the event?. However, her actions could backfire on her badly and emotionally harm her daughter (the very one she purports to love the most).

A prohibited steps order is a court order prohibiting the person specified in the order from taking a certain step. Prohibited steps orders are often made to prevent a parent removing a child from the court's jurisdiction (i.e. England and Wales) or to prevent somebody having contact with a child.

To justify the granting of a prohibited steps order the applicant must have reasonable grounds to believe that the action is likely to be taken.

Any person involved with the child concerned may apply for a prohibited steps order. If the applicant is not the child's parent then they must initially ask for leave (i.e. permission) of the court to make the application.

I think you and not just to say your son will have a long and protracted fight in the courts if you want to have any contact. Even so courts cannot always guarantee a reunion; the whole situation is at the behest of the mother. Courts can impose prison sentences for Mothers who refuse contact for no good reason but this is not always done.

In the meantime you can send cards to her on her birthday (keep any returned stuff as well) and other occasions, set up an account for her. Keep all of this to show her when she is of age. It shows her that you tried when she was young.

midlandsmumof4 Sun 12-Oct-08 00:58:27

Tnis was so unexpected. There was an incident on Wednesday 6th which resulted in GD being taken to hospital. Apparently she got hold of a phial of some chemical that my son used to clean his fishtank and put it in her mouth (didn't drink any). They rushed her to A & E & she was given the all clear but next day mum went back to her parents because she said son had endangered daughters life even though he was down stairs when it happened and she was upstairs with daughter. At first she said son could see his daughter on the Sunday but then she rang & said he couldn't. She then refused to answer her phone or reply to any texts. We have been here before. Son is loath to ring/text too often as she rings police and accuses him of harassment & being abusive. On Wed. 20th Aug at 9.45pm son was served with papers for court hearing on Friday 22nd. The claims she has made against him in her statement are horrendous & totally untrue which we can prove (which is why I don't feel I can contact her). She applied for the prohibited steps order and residency order because 'she was afraid son would kidnap his daughter'. I could carry on forever as I think she has serious issues. My son was (is) a loving caring father who works long hours to pay the mortgage & bills (& debts she has left him with). He doesn't deserve this.

mumoverseas Sun 12-Oct-08 05:40:00

But WHY did your son not object to the Residence and Prohibited steps orders? You say you hace proof that she had made untrue statement. By him agreeing, its like he concedes what she says is true. I can only assume that your son did not have the opportunity of instructing a solicitor to represent him at the hearing on the 22nd Aug? Surely the orders made on that day were only interim and a further hearing was listed to allow your son to obtain independent legal advice and file and serve a statement of his own?
Was the issue of contact between him and his daughter not discussed? Normally where a residence order is made the matter of contact between the child and the other parent would be raised. Even if his ex is making all sorts of horrible allegations, claiming he would kidnap his daugther, he should still be able to have contact with her, even if supervised by a third party or at a contact centre.
Your son really needs to see a solicitor ASAP!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 12-Oct-08 07:43:54

No he doesn't deserve this but what has he actually done to date in terms of getting these orders overturned?. You don't address that question. Often the court system works in favour of mothers, this is perhaps why he seemingly did not object but the whole system not just to say your son has poorly served his daughter as a result. Now he has well and truly shot himself in the foot by not contesting either order.

His ex's actions certainly do not sound like those of a mentally balanced person but he needs to challenge these allegations made against him or it will haunt him for the rest of his days. Not just to say yours because if your son does not act you'll likely never see your granddaughter again.

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