Gransnet forums


Estranged grandchild v going to court

(41 Posts)
tracyb Thu 24-Dec-15 16:23:22

Hi does anyone have any advise about going to court to gain access to grandchildren? I am really concerned about doing so but cannot give up on my 4 year old grandson. My son lives in Dubai and hasn't spoken to me for 3 years now due to something I have supposed to have done when I was married to his father some 19 years ago.. His ex wife ( my daughter in law lives locally) and since going on holiday with my ex in September has stopped all contact with my grandson for presumably the same reason. He is my world - they lived with us for a while and we have always supported them so this is so very difficult. I do not want to lose contact and have looked into going to court but am so worried of starting an unnecessary war BUT what else do I do? I have tried sending messages to try to meet to talk but she threatened me with the police. I have sent xmas presents and she has sent them back. I am devastated.
I lost my daughter 4 years ago because of things her father has said and have not met her 4 year old or 4 week old sons.
Sometimes it is so hard to carry on and the pain never leaves me. I don't know what I have done or how to make things right.

aggie Thu 24-Dec-15 16:55:29

How sad , but I am afraid court is not the answer .You need better advice than I can give , but going to court would lead to even more resentment and I don't think that Grandparents have any rights over Grandchildren

NfkDumpling Thu 24-Dec-15 17:09:31

What a terrible situation.

Is there any relative/friend who could mediate? Put your side?

Anniebach Thu 24-Dec-15 18:02:02

Do take great care, if you went to court for custody you would have to say his mother was not a good mother , the child could be removed from the family and placed in care . Grandparents do not have legal rights with grandchildren

Nelliemoser Thu 24-Dec-15 20:47:01

Tracyb I am afraid it would probably a very expensive waste of money.

glammanana Fri 25-Dec-15 09:38:02

This is something I would never consider it will open a whole new can of worms with the parents which would never be able to be repaired in the future,try to keep the door open for any future contact and try to get another friend/family member to possibly mediate with the mother.Grandparents have no rights of contact with Grandchildren but solicitors will certainly take all of your money fighting a case which you will surely loose,just think for one minute how resentful the mother will be if she is made to have contact it would not make for a pleasent situation at all.

Wendysue Fri 25-Dec-15 15:33:32

Oh, Tracy, I'm so deeply sorry! My heart goes out to you! Estranged from both your son and daughter and 3 GC! I can't even imagine how painful that must be!

I would think twice - or more - before going to court. A lot depends on where the children live. You need to check out the laws in Duba or wherever. I take it you're talking about visitation, not custody, but sorry to say, you may not even stand a chance for such court-ordered visits. Please don't spend time and money on this, unless you know for sure, there's at least a chance for you to win something.

But even if there is, that doesn't mean you'll be successful. Don't forget, the parents will get their day in court, too, and who knows what they will say? And if they're angry that you took them to court, it could make things worse. Are you willing to take that risk?

I would also be careful about getting a friend or anyone else involved. That could seriously backfire. The parents might just get angrier because you discussed this with someone else. Or they might convince the other person that they're right and then you lose a support person.

It must be frustrating, I know, to feel as if there's nothing you can do but wait. But, for now, I think that's the best idea. Wait, think about how you might repair the damaged relationships, hope that their hearts may soften and take time to mull over and weigh your options. Please be patient. (((Hugs!))

Wendysue Fri 25-Dec-15 15:36:15

Another thought... Would you feel comfortable what your son feels you did that is worth such an estrangement? Or what your daughter got upset about? I'm not being nosey, I just think, maybe if we know what it's all about, we can help you fix whatever the problems are. Maybe not, but I think it's worth a try.

tracyb Sun 27-Dec-15 14:58:00

Hi thank you all for your thoughts and kind words. My daughter in law lives locally to me and my son lives and works in Dubai. She has stopped access with my grandson for us and my son.
As far as I can make out, it is all due to something my ex husband has told my son and daughter which has since been fed to my DIL. Everything has been fine for the four years, they lived with us before my son moved to Dubai, we supported them and helped with my grandson - hence why he and I are very close. Since my DIL went on holiday with my ex and his wife in September she has stopped access saying I am aggressive with disgusting behaviour and have lied to my own children. What she has been fed I do not know. I have tried every avenue believe me but she has threatened the police so do not feel able to keep trying that way. I also do not feel able to leave it and not try to sort things out. I have lost my daughter the same way 4 years ago and have not seen my 4 yr old and 4 week old grandsons and do not want this to happen with this grandson as well. I am stuck - literally. I do not want a war , I hate bad feeling but do not understand why my ex and his wife feel the need after 19 years, to make my life miserable and for me to loose the people I love so much.
Thankfully my youngest son, with 2 grandchildren, has not been pulled into any of this - although he knows how I have been.
What is the right thing to do - I cant lose him.
IF I go to court, I will not have a lawyer because of the cost but how else do I get my DIL to realise how much he means to me and get her to hear my side?

ninathenana Sun 27-Dec-15 15:23:19

I really feel for you, I know what it's like. We have family problems regarding DD's ex and seeing DGC but not as bad as this.
how do I get DiL to realize how much he means to me It saddens me to say it but I think she knows that already but unfortunately she holds all the aces.
As has been said GP's have no right of access to their DGC. So I don't think court is the answer.

Luckygirl Sun 27-Dec-15 17:15:04

Court is not the way - lawyers will line their pockets on this wild goose chase. And you will have burned your bridges in terms of trying to find an amicable way to settle all this. In any event a good honest lawyer would deter you from such action; even a bad one is unlikely to let it get as far as court - you have no grounds for action because you have no rights. It is harsh but true.

It seems to me from what you are saying that your ex is stirring all this up. Do you have any contact with him? Is there anything amicable in your current relationship with him that might be used to calm this situation down?

I hope that you are able to maintain the good relationship that you have with one of your sons and his family.

I am sure that nina is right and that your DIL does already know how much your DGS means to you.

Iam64 Sun 27-Dec-15 18:48:40

Have you thought about mediation? Sadly, many of the free schemes have closed due to the cuts but it's worth googling what's available in your area. You could also look at the Family Rights website. As others have said, grandparents don't have rights. In English law, the Children Act, children have rights, parents have duties. The rights for children include maintaining significant relationships. Sadly, many parents/grandparents/significant people seem unable to take the long view and try and maintain or build relationships, despite underlying dissatisfaction and even conflict. The children are the people who matter most and we should all do our very best to make sure they stay at the centre of any action we take at difficult times.

tracyb Sun 27-Dec-15 20:53:14

Thank you. Yes I went to mediation but DIL declined.. It is so difficult to know what to do - how can I give up and he think I don't love him anymore?
I didn't want any of this. My ex and I cannot talk - he brings back all the nastiness from our marriage and what hes done since. He always said he would get the children and one by one he has now moving onto my grandchildren - why???
All I have left is my youngest and his 2 children. I cannot bear this and not knowing why is 100 times worse.

Greenockgran Sun 27-Dec-15 21:00:03

I am sorry to say this, but my best friend took your plan and I dropped her like a hot brick. You really have no right to interfere to that extent according to parentally law. No good will come of it.

Luckygirl Sun 27-Dec-15 22:38:25

There is a thread here (the name of which I have forgotten) where someone in very similar circumstances to you has talked about the need to let it all go and get on with her own life.

Treasure the 2 GC that you have contact with and avoid offloading your anguish on your youngest son - just have lots of fun and be the jolly granny for them.

You can only hope that time will heal - but it really does sound as though your offspring have been affected by the break-up of your marriage and cannot find a way of not taking sides.

There is also another thread where a grandmother was estranged from one of her children and lost contact with her GS, who then contacted her as a teenager and wanted to establish a relationship with her.

So - do not despair. It is a very sad situation, but please enjoy what you do have and do not let the sad bits encroach on the good.

harrigran Sun 27-Dec-15 23:06:44

As a grandparent you do not have any rights and you will not gain anything by going to court except to enrage your DC. This is not a situation that you can manipulate, best concentrate on the GC that you do have contact with and enjoy them growing up.

NfkDumpling Mon 28-Dec-15 07:30:43

It can be very difficult for children of estranged parents to not take sides, especially when one parent is being so vindictive. In the heat and of a good row things are said in a collapsing marriage which aren't necessarily true. (On both sides!). Perhaps your ex is raking these up? I think you need to know exactly what your ex is saying, or else how can you defend yourself. Surely your DC would want to know your side? Surely they know you well enough to judge for themselves whether you're a good person?

Have you tried writing to your DC explaining your feelings and asking for an explanation of what you've done? A handwritten letter is very difficult to ignore.

Skweek1 Mon 28-Dec-15 09:57:45

Oh, my dear, I am so sorry for you and do hope that things will eventually sort themselves out, although I honestly have to realistically agree with what others have said. Part of my estrangement with my two daughters was due to the poison poured into their ears during visits to my ex when they were teenagers with the result that I have only once seen my grandson and they haven't spoken to me for 20 years, apart from cutting me dead at my mother's funeral when I tried to build bridges with them. It will always hurt, but all you can do is learn to live with the pain.

emmamelbourne Mon 28-Dec-15 14:15:01


He finally told his mother. Apparently only because one of his friends told him "this is happening" and that he needed to tell his mother. (He made a point of telling me that my emails and updates on baby Sophia's scans or requests for him to tell his mother had nothing to do with it.)

She requested that she wanted to meet me, and so we went around there and I like her. She's lovely. And she wants to know baby Sophia, and wants to be in her life.

She was trying to offer me financial help or to buy things I might need, when that is the last thing on my mind. I just wanted her to be able to be in Sophia's life, and vice versa for Sophia to be in her life. She'll be a lovely grandmother, and I think she'll love having little Sophia in her life.

What a relief.

Baby's father is still oscillating between being somewhat helpful and being in a state of semi-denial. Sigh.

I've got some dramas with baby Sophia measuring a bit small, and she may be naturally small or she may be developing growth restriction and need to come out a wee bit early. I have a scan next week to check her growth and chart it against previous scans.

However she has good blood flow and heart rate, healthy on all tests, and I have perfect blood pressure and health. So it's only that she is a wee bit small which is of minor concern, but they'll get her out early if they think she's not getting optimal nutrition and they say she'll be fine if she comes out at 32-34 weeks worst case scenario. (I'm 29 weeks at present.)

I just wanted to thank everyone on this forum who wrote. Your advice kept my patience going with the baby's father, to stay the course in the hope he would tell his mother.

I hope he bonds with Sophia when she is born, and plays a role in her life as her Dad, but it's also great to know she has a lovely grandmother too. (I've yet to meet the grandfather, but he sounds nice too.) I will try and facilitate them seeing Sophia as much as they like.

So thank you Gransnet forum posters.

x Emma

emmamelbourne Mon 28-Dec-15 14:17:23

Apologies - it's posted to wrong forum topic.

rosequartz Mon 28-Dec-15 15:04:22

Glad you have some better news and hope all goes well smile

Anya Mon 28-Dec-15 15:40:49

tracy if all this upset has been caused by something your ex told your son/DiL and daughter then you need to get to the heart of this. What on earth could he have said that would make them react so strongly?

Rather than go to court for visitation rights I would address this issue first.

If you can refute his allegations and prove them to be viscious lies then everything else would surely be sorted. Firstly you need to find out what was said I would think.

snapdog Mon 28-Dec-15 16:32:33

I went to court, got a contact order... You can do it yourself, just contact your local court office and ask for the forms it is £60 for the MIAMS form (mediation) and £295 to go to court - you have to obtain leave from the court to apply for a contact order, I have only heard of one person who has been declined this... You do not need solicitors, we went for a 30 min free appointment - or go to CAB for legal advice, but you do not need it, the forms are very easy to complete - don't let people frighten you off - If you have no contact or are being childishly ignored by the so called adults what have you go to loose, I know two people who have just been given contact... go for it!

Shazmo24 Mon 28-Dec-15 16:53:43

How about starting somewhere by writing her a letter reminding her of what you were like when they were staying with you?
You need to concentrate on the positives & not the accusations but just a straight forward unemotional letter asking her why after all this time after spending time with you with your GC would she just take the word of your ex-husband?
This might just open up the conversation or at least make her think

tracyb Mon 28-Dec-15 17:11:22

Thank you all I shall take some time to mull over all your thoughts before I do anything . so sad so many of us in this position