Gransnet forums


Should GC go to contact visits to gather on lockdown ?

(31 Posts)
Jaffacake2 Mon 23-Mar-20 22:18:10

I would welcome opinions please on our current family dilemma.
My daughter was left with 2 children nearly 2 years ago when her husband left the family home. They are separated ,not yet divorced. Children are 2yrs and 4 years old. They are with their father on weekends at his mother's home where he now lives.
Problem is ex husband will not communicate with my daughter,even when children have been ill. His mother is worse and will not speak at all unless being abusive to daughter. Now with the corona virus daughter has been observing social distance and staying at home to help protect children and herself from infection. But ex and his family will not say what they are doing for protection or to safeguard children's health.
Should the children still go to his place each weekend or should they stay based with their mother ?

Jaycee5 Tue 24-Mar-20 11:50:50

Now that Johnson has finally made a shutdown official, keeping them at their main home seems sensible and he can only challenge it when the courts return.
There are so many details that have to be ironed out when extreme circumstances occur.
People's priorities are really changing.

SpanielNanny Tue 24-Mar-20 10:09:39

Micheal Gove has clarified this morning that there is an exemption in new guidelines, children under 18 are able to go between the homes of their parents.

Obviously there will be some circumstances where this isn’t possible. But they’re not prohibited from doing so by law.

Petalou44 Tue 24-Mar-20 09:34:05

The Family Courts always put the welfare of the child first. In this case, with the current crisis, your daughter would have no problem in convincing a Court that she is protecting her children from further exposure to the virus via their father's working practices.

Grandmafrench Tue 24-Mar-20 09:10:38

Sadly, we are now in very difficult times. For any absent Dad - with or without an Order or agreement in place - some access difficulties are now unavoidable. Unlikely, in a lockdown like this (and hopefully not a lockdown of many months ☹️) that the rules issued last night are going to deal with how separated families are going to ‘socialise’. Because socialising is what this is. ALL households mix only with their own households. Therefore no visiting other households for any reason.....otherwise the many sad Grans on here who are not high risk could carry on seeing little GC’s as their normal routine dictated! These are infant children who live - as they’ve always done - in the family home. Father moved out. He lives elsewhere. The rules now have not been created to pander to anyone’s former routine, likes or preferences. The Government is trying to save lives which is why everyone is distressed to some degree. He’s gone home to live with a harridan who clearly thinks the sun shines out of him and who has no concern at all for the Mother of her Grandchildren or the difficulties that her attitude will create - esp., when the children are older! She should not be spoken to. He should not be spoken to. There is no Order in place, so Mum should be prepared to resolve that as soon as life returns to normal. In the meantime, to save rows, stress and acrimony, she should write to the children’s Father, calmly, pointing out that the children will not be visiting anyone at all until the lockdown is over and that although she is concerned that the children’s rights of access must be curtailed for the moment, that she is determined (like the rest of the country) not to fall foul of the Government’s ruling, nor risk being fined for flouting what is now mandatory for all. In the meantime, she can maybe suggest Skyping or FaceTiming a few times over each weekend and if he accepts that, she’ll be more than happy to set it up and won’t doubt that the kids will be thrilled to do that! In the absence of that, she’s not prepared to get involved in arguments or lengthy correspondence, so he will need to contact a Solicitor and take advice as to obtaining an Order with regard to access.

Think of the rules now.....and the reasons why we can be out in public. Think of social distancing. Going to Solicitors offices for conversations/advice and hoping to start legal proceedings at the moment? I don’t think so. Just be calm, polite, firm, refuse to argue, sound reasonable and sensible and certainly don’t write anything you won’t be happy to see in Court documents when you are eventually able to apply for a formal Order which will document what has been agreed. Until then keep a copy of anything you write and don’t get into any conversation. Good luck !

ArtySue Tue 24-Mar-20 08:22:59

Jaffacake2, I do feel for you. I have been through similar. You have been given plenty of topical advice here so I won't add to that but would implore your daughter to get a court order when she can. My son went through hell with his abusive ex, with the child in the middle of it and awful malice being posted on Facebook about my son who had done nothing wrong. Once the courts sorted it there was a kind of peace because no-one could dispute the court's decision. Sorry, that's not for now, but meanwhile I send you a hug in this tricky situation.

Iam64 Tue 24-Mar-20 08:14:04

In the current situation, legally, the children stay with their mother. I can't imagine any Family Court criticising the mother for insisting these vulnerable, small children stay in the place they live. That would be so, even if the Court had made an order about contact.
There are so many ways to keep in touch - we haven't done our usual child care or had family visits but we're face timing, sending vids of each other. If mum is prepared to do that - problem solved.

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 24-Mar-20 08:13:03

Michael Gove has said that they can go and visit, builders are also allowed to carry on working on building sites.
This shut down is working out to be less of a shut down than I thought it would be.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 24-Mar-20 08:09:06

Jaffacake2 sounds similar to DD situation, we are bracing ourselves for the abusive phone calls in the coming days.

He is not good at following rules and if he can work on the side he will. DD will arrange face time and have phone calls, GC health is uppermost.

GrannyLaine Tue 24-Mar-20 08:03:08

Jaffacake2 under present circumstances I think the moral imperative of protecting ourselves, our family and the wider community overrides ANY other arrangement.

Jaffacake2 Tue 24-Mar-20 08:00:29

Daughters ex husband has said that he will carry on working as a self employed plasterer as he needs the money. So he is not following advice to keep away from others. His brother also intends working through lockdown . Children are then at greater risk of virus as they will have had multiple contacts in the family.
If anyone knows exactly what Gove said please let me know ? Thank you for all your thoughts

GrannyGravy13 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:54:52

Our GC are staying here with us and DD, they can argue over the intricacies of the Court Order when this emergency is over.

Hetty58 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:53:05

Legally, the word 'can' (or 'may') means there is no compulsion to comply. Only the word 'must' is a direction!

Hetty58 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:51:21

The courts aren't even operating at present. If your daughter is happy to keep them at home, she has a perfectly valid reason - safety concerns!

GrannyGravy13 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:50:14

Hetty58 Michael Gove has appeared on GMB and BBC this morning and has made conflicting statements on this in the matter of 5 minutes.

Jaffacake2 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:46:14

Thank you for your thoughts. My daughter tried to discuss it with him on the phone and just had a lot of swearing abuse at her. She has decided to keep kids with her in lockdown as she has no confidence in him or his family to follow government ruling.
There is not a court order so not sure how legally she would stand . But unlikely he would find a solicitor at present to challenge her actions which she believes safeguards the children.

Hetty58 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:43:57

Michael Gove on BBC1 just said that 'under eighteens can see both parents'.

Madgran77 Tue 24-Mar-20 07:33:45

Get some legal advice if you can! Especially if access is court ordered.

On present advice it looks like they should not be going

welbeck Tue 24-Mar-20 00:02:03

he doesn't communicate, so maybe she doesn't need to.
just keep the children with her, if that forces him to communicate she can say she is following govt regulations, pro tem.
what can he do. ?go to law, unlikely. how long will that take. wont be a priority at the moment.
document everything.

Hetty58 Mon 23-Mar-20 23:53:24

grannyactivist, it's not possible to let them go without disobeying the rules. Jaffacake's daughter needs to seek clarification on this before allowing it.

ElaineI Mon 23-Mar-20 23:37:19

The lockdown rules are to protect everyone from a potentially fatal virus so if the father and grandmother wish to risk their lives (all of them including children's) then they are not fit to look after them. The rules Boris laid down were very clear so no they should not go and stay at home! This is an extra-ordinary situation for the world!

grannyactivist Mon 23-Mar-20 23:06:30

I see your dilemma Jaffacake2. Do you have any reason to suppose that their father (or grandmother) won't be following government advice?

In these unsettled times I think changes in routine for small children should be kept to an absolute minimum, so unless I was worried for their safety I would let them go.

Callistemon Mon 23-Mar-20 22:49:45

If he cares at all about them he will forego his rights for the time being.

Please check through official channels.

Sussexborn Mon 23-Mar-20 22:48:07

Best to just say you are keeping the GC at home because that’s what the law says and keep repeating it if necessary. Is the ex’s family on social media? Are they stating opinions that show they are disregarding the govt instructions. If so make sure you keep the evidence in case there is trouble in the future.

Jaycee5 Mon 23-Mar-20 22:45:58

If access is court ordered, you can't just change it and although it is frustrating for the parent with the bulk of the care, there is no obligation to clear any arrangements or discuss anything. Some parents have no communication at all.
If it has been arranged by the parties, then it might be easier, but as others have said, either way your daughter needs to take advice from people who know.
Remember that access is the children's right to see their father.

Marilla Mon 23-Mar-20 22:39:25

Update: You should not meeting with family members who do not LIVE in your home. This is what was said in the Prime Minister’s speech. I hope this will help clarify what you need to know,