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Estrangement

Help Please! Grandchild being taken to live abroad

(50 Posts)
Tatti Mon 02-Oct-23 10:53:05

My 2 year old granddaughter & her mother (B) have been living with me, my son (J) and my partner for a year. B is not English and the relationship has been bad between her and my son for a long time, (she fell pregnant 6 weeks into the relationship and they have struggled as a couple).
She has just announced she is going to move to her family in Italy with the child. It is not a good setup for a child, she did this before and came back because it was so awful but now she says its for good.
I discovered that last time this happened my son paid for legal advise but in the end she still left without any custody agreement and she made visiting very difficult.
Can anybody tell me how to start the custody process? I've found a lot of conflicting information - some you pay, some you don't. My son recently lost his business and money is a problem which is why they've been staying with me.
We are heartbroken but feel completely powerless. B is a very difficult person to deal with and has a foul temper so we all walk on eggshells to keep life calm for my GD.
I will find some money if we need to but how do we navigate the system?
Thank you for reading this. I'm at work crying my eyes out!!!

Smileless2012 Mon 02-Oct-23 15:34:21

You don't seem interfering to me Tatti, you want the best for all concerned, and want to know how best to support your son in this difficult situation.

Having experienced no contact with your own father growing up, it's understandable that you don't want the same for your GD.

Oh and well done for using an emoji smile.

paddyann54 Mon 02-Oct-23 18:52:55

I should have read before posting ,of course I meant UN happy with your son.Are you seriously expecting her to stay in a country she's not happy in with a man she's not happy with and a critical MIL .? Keeping her hostage isn't a good idea,I'm sure your son could travel like many do to see family ,its THEIR child not yours .Its up to them to sort it out

Tatti Mon 02-Oct-23 20:38:20

Paddyann54 - your comments are more suited to Twitter than this forum, which I expected to offer adult advice without any nastiness. This is my first ever post (and what a sad post!) Thank you to everybody else who has been genuinely helpful.

The Facts (again)
The first time she left she did not complete the access mediation and made it very difficult for my son to see his daughter. He had a breakdown shortly after this and lost his business (I didn't mention this, but didn't think I needed to)

When she returned with my GD she said it was because it was impossible to live with her family, for many reasons that I won't go into. She asked to move in with me and I gladly said yes. That was with 3 days notice.

I housed her, my son and GD - giving them space, money, helping to find her part time work, nursery, playgroups, navigating services and generally being welcoming and supportive. I wanted them all to stay together and made sure I did everything to help them achieve it.

Sadly the relationship has not worked. She has not given my son any options and is going to Italy for good. The problem my family face now is how to ensure access when it didn't happen first time around.

That's it. Nobody is a hostage, I know I am Grandmother and not the parent (really?!), I am supporting my son and trying to help him navigate access that sticks this time and ensure that the whole family can continue to support this adorable innocent child caught up in a horrible situation. Wherever she lives.

Maybe I rattled off the post without making myself clear but I am upset and sensitive enough at the moment without having justify myself to you. I wont read any of your posts so please don't bother responding. I can't see a 'block' option but would certainly use it on you.

Again - thank you so much to everybody else.
x

Cadenza123 Mon 02-Oct-23 23:06:02

I've have just read through the posts and it's quite clear what's been happening. Your son needs specialist legal advice to negotiate some sort of access. I imagine that it may be possible to object to removal of the child to another country but you won't know until you get professional help. I hope things settle down soon.

Glorianny Tue 03-Oct-23 11:12:11

Tatti I wonder have you ever though that somewhere in Italy there are GPs hoping their GD will return? I wonder if embracing your GDs heritage might help her mother adjust? If you stepped back acknowledged it might happen, looked at ways of maintaining contact, perhaps learned Italian (just in case and so you can communicate with the other GPs). Perhaps her mum might start to settle more, maybe she's just a bit lost and homesick and looking for support.

Cold Tue 03-Oct-23 11:17:15

Your son needs to get specialist advice. He can take steps to prevent his child leaving the country without his permission.

Under the Hague convention - it can be regarded a parental abduction if a child it removed from their habitual country of residence without the other parent's permission. It is one of the risks of having children in a different country, that you may not be able to leave with the kids if the relationship breaks down.

I know several women who have suffered the consequences of this, Some have had to stay put until the kids were older others have managed to negotiate custody arrangements that were legally binding in both countries.

One friend of mine had decided to do what your DIL is considering by returning to the US with the child after her marriage broke down in Sweden to have family support. She took legal advice in both countries and the conclusions were identical - that removing the child from their country of residence (Sweden) and returning to the US would be regarded as parental abduction and could result in her being arrested and losing custody. The lawyers recommended a custody agreement to be registered with the courts in both countries. The child moved to the US but spent 3-4 months a year in Sweden,

maddyone Tue 03-Oct-23 11:30:32

Yes, good post Cold that is exactly the situation as I understand it.
In this case it’s very difficult because mother is unhappy here, but a very involved father doesn’t want to lose his child for the majority of the time. Unfortunately there are no winners in these situations and the one who suffers most is the child.
I certainly don’t read Tatti as being interfering, she’s simply trying to help her son with information about the situation.
I do wonder if the courts would give mother permission to take the little one abroad to live but give father visitation rights and keep his shared custody of his daughter. I don’t know this, I’m wondering because the little girl is so young. But they may not, and mother would then have to sort out her living arrangements and stay here until the little girl is older. As I said, whatever happens, there are no winners here.

Chocolatelovinggran Tue 03-Oct-23 11:43:45

You've had some good advice here Tatti and I feel for you in this difficult situation. However I think that I am right in understanding that your son's position, legally, is weaker than you wish because he is not married to the child's mother.

Smileless2012 Tue 03-Oct-23 11:53:59

It would appear from your last post paddyann that you still haven't read the OPhmm.

Glorianny Tue 03-Oct-23 12:02:30

Cold

Your son needs to get specialist advice. He can take steps to prevent his child leaving the country without his permission.

Under the Hague convention - it can be regarded a parental abduction if a child it removed from their habitual country of residence without the other parent's permission. It is one of the risks of having children in a different country, that you may not be able to leave with the kids if the relationship breaks down.

I know several women who have suffered the consequences of this, Some have had to stay put until the kids were older others have managed to negotiate custody arrangements that were legally binding in both countries.

One friend of mine had decided to do what your DIL is considering by returning to the US with the child after her marriage broke down in Sweden to have family support. She took legal advice in both countries and the conclusions were identical - that removing the child from their country of residence (Sweden) and returning to the US would be regarded as parental abduction and could result in her being arrested and losing custody. The lawyers recommended a custody agreement to be registered with the courts in both countries. The child moved to the US but spent 3-4 months a year in Sweden,

That's absolutely true but it is also very difficult if the mother simply refuses to stick to a court order and does as she likes. You are faced with an impossible legal situation, huge amounts of cash swallowed by lawyers and a child who becomes torn between two parents.

Smileless2012 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:10:29

You're absolutely right Glorianny and this would be even more difficult if the mother is able to take the child out of the country.

The welfare of the child should be uppermost in her parents minds, but sadly all too often that isn't the case.

nanna8 Tue 03-Oct-23 12:10:46

I think there is something called The Hague convention which prevents a parent leaving a country with a child without permission from the other parent. I know it is invoked here quite frequently in these sort of issues. Are they married ? If they are then that would certainly apply.

Daddima Tue 03-Oct-23 13:35:10

BlueBelle

*She's happy with your son and you clearly dont like her* PaddyAnne I think you ve read it wrongly

The poster actually says
and the relationship has been bad between her and my son for a long time

I agree with Maddy she can’t take the child abroad without the child’s father agreeing if he has equal parental rights but it’s not always cut and dried
I think your son needs to seek some advice in his own right you can support him and give him help if needed but it needs to be insisted by him
Good luck let us know how it goes

I think Paddyanne actually said ‘ she’s NOT happy with your son’.
It is really up to your son to do what he sees fit, but I would be afraid that going in with ‘all guns blazing’ could be both costly and ineffective. Maybe keeping things amicable in the first instance could be a better idea.

VioletSky Tue 03-Oct-23 16:50:37

I cannot offer any help with the legal side of things...

But I would advise you and your son to accept that she no longer wants this relationship and wants to return home. Then you can work on having a good separated relationship

Whichever route you take, legal or otherwise, the better the relationship the better chances of finding a compromise here

Callistemon21 Tue 03-Oct-23 16:54:11

Glorianny

Tatti I wonder have you ever though that somewhere in Italy there are GPs hoping their GD will return? I wonder if embracing your GDs heritage might help her mother adjust? If you stepped back acknowledged it might happen, looked at ways of maintaining contact, perhaps learned Italian (just in case and so you can communicate with the other GPs). Perhaps her mum might start to settle more, maybe she's just a bit lost and homesick and looking for support.

I agree. It might be very hard for them too, and if the mother is not allowed to take the child to Italy even for a holiday, they might not get the chance to get to know her or for her to know the other side of her family.

I wondered, too, if the father's name is on the birth certificate, possible Tatti has already said whether or not it is.

DiamondLily Tue 03-Oct-23 16:54:30

nanna8

I think there is something called The Hague convention which prevents a parent leaving a country with a child without permission from the other parent. I know it is invoked here quite frequently in these sort of issues. Are they married ? If they are then that would certainly apply.

There is:

www.alternativefamilylaw.co.uk/international/hague-convention-child-abduction/

rafichagran Tue 03-Oct-23 17:15:15

Smileless2012

It would appear from your last post paddyann that you still haven't read the OPhmm.

I agree, I find Paddyannes post rude. I don't think Tatty is interfering at all.

Iam64 Tue 03-Oct-23 18:06:41

If your son hasn't already got one, he should apply for a Parental Responsibility Order . It’s very easy and is very rarely refused. That will give him shared PR with his child’s mother.

Look on line for a solicitor who specialises in Family law. They should have Family Law Accreditation. Accreditation is a detailed process so you can be confident your solicitor is properly qualified and experienced.

Parents are encouraged to make arrangements in the best interests of their children. Let’s hope that happens here

Ilovecheese Tue 03-Oct-23 18:45:51

I think the best interests for a two year old is a happy mother.
Being combative in this situation will not be good for anyone.
The mother and father need to try and come to an agreement between themselves. Going to law will help no one and will cost money that would be better spent on visits between the two parents wherever they are each based.

maddyone Tue 03-Oct-23 23:22:56

Going to law is costly and will possibly not be helpful, but if father has not got parental responsibility (which I believe is automatic if the parents are married, but these parents are not married) then he should certainly take the advice of Iam64 and apply for it immediately. I think of the parents were living together when baby was born then he should already have parental responsibility, but he is not named on the birth certificate, I don’t think he will have.
It’s all very complicated, but it’s certain that father needs to ensure quickly that he has got parental responsibility, otherwise I think mother can do as she likes.

Tatti Wed 04-Oct-23 11:59:54

Thank you all so much there are some really good points here and I will look into all of them. This situation certainly is in the Mother's favour and they never married.

A few days have passed and I have accepted they are going (and fairly soon) and I will miss my GD so much; as I said they live with us so a double whammy. Watching my son keeping a stiff upper lip is just awful too. It all came out of the blue for us but had been planned a while apparently.

We could accept it all so much easier if we knew we'd get decent access this time - that is also enforceable if it breaks down.

We're going to get some more advice now (fast!) and just have to see what we can do in reality, then how it pans out.

We are all smiles around the house and keeping it light for my GD but OMG it's hard! We've had her a year and I know some GPs have had a lot less (and my heart goes out to them) but she is such a part of our daily lives that I can't imagine it.

I'm welling up again so better go! Time to put my Big Girl pants on and do what we can from a practical point of view. In reality I think we are looking a lot of mutual goodwill to get the access working, which I just hope they can achieve.

Thank you all again - I haven't been able to face telling my friends yet so this has been a great outlet for me.

flowers

Smileless2012 Wed 04-Oct-23 13:49:45

Keeping everything crossed that mutual goodwill can be achieved Tatti for all your sakeflowers

Hetty58 Wed 04-Oct-23 14:27:23

Being realistic, though - how many times does a father lose contact when the mother moves away? I'm not saying it's fair or in the child's best interests but just that distance means there's less contact - and with paternal grandparents.

Often, a new relationship or remarriage/s (parents and/or grandparents) further complicates things. A stepchild is involved with half siblings and the new partner's family, especially if they live nearby. Legal proceedings can easily stir up bad feelings so it's easier to just put some things in the past.

We adapt, I lowered my expectations, made great efforts to get along with everybody (and never be demanding) so I still see a grandchild. I'm just one out of five grandmothers now, though, so, being practical, haven't been too involved in their childhood!

jeanie99 Thu 05-Oct-23 17:14:16

Your son needs legal advice asap.
Unfortunately GP do not have any legal rights, I would support your son where you can and if he asks for your opinion fare enough otherwise keep out of it.

The couple have to try and work out something which allows both of them to be parents.
Your DIL clearly at this point wants to run away from the issues she has with your son and you.
These are private issues with your son which you know nothing about and it should be left that way.
It's going to be very difficult sharing parenting and living in two countries.
Try and stay positive and do not loose contact with your DIL and your GD that is most important.