Grandparents rights?

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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 2:56 pm

Grandparents rights?

Postby seccy » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:11 pm

Can anyone advise me on grandparents rights if any. My daughter has had 2 more children since I agreed to raise her oldest child from the age of 6 months and is now 8 years old. Mum has gone back to being what she is best at and that is being a drug addict therefore her 2 other children are being cared for by her ex partner, he is refusing me contact of any kind and also will not allow the oldest sibling contact either. Does anyone know if going to court would help me get a contact order despite the parental rights of the father of my grandchildren, I feel so hurt and upset knowing we wont be able to see them anymore, it breaks my heart to think they will grow up not knowing their nannie or older sibling, both are only very young at the moment so dont understand what is going on.

Any help/ideas would be appreciated

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Robin D
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Grandparents rights?

Postby Robin D » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:18 am

If you literally look at 'rights' then I think the only one you have in this regard is the right to apply to a court for leave to apply for a contact order. Whether that is the right approach is a totally different question!

The child in your care may have a strong argument for seeing their sibling, but that may be balanced by the other two's rights to not be upset by such contact!

Your daughter will still retain PR over the children even if they are not living with her so she has a right to apply for an order that would allow the siblings to see each other. It doesn't sound as if that's likely in the short term though.

That's the difficulties with focussing on individual rights which is what I'm sure the dad is doing as someone has probably told him its his right to refuse contact.

You could apply to the court, but frankly I would encourage you to explore every other opportunity first. This would also help in the event that does end up in court in that you can demonstrate that the you have fallen over backwards to find an agreement.

I'd suggest the first thing to do is to contact the Dad by phone or letter (Not text) and ask in a non-threatening way for a meeting where you can discuss his reasons for not allowing contact between the children. You need to focus on this. Make a note of you call, and the response. If you can meet, and he says that seeing you is the problem, just state your disappointment and move on by supporting the contact between the children as agreed. Over a relatively short period (much less than court proceedings would take) if you are supportive of Dad's position, you will find his fears that you will undermine the security of the other two will subside and he may then allow you to see the children in a supervised setting.

If that doesn't work, you should contact a solicitor who handles family mediation, or speak to Social Services if previously involved to see if you can set up a mediation session. Only if that fails should you then consider applying for a court order.

I also suggest that you always, I repeat 'ALWAYS', remember Christmas and birthdays by sending a small gift and a card. Get the child in your care to send a card, but both of you must avoid any langauage that could be considered manipulating. So 'sending you my love' and 'thinking of you' are fine, 'hoping we will see you soon' is not! If you get the child to inclue a photo of themselves, you may find you get one back of the other two. Do not worry about if the children ever get them and make sure you say to your child that the others are not old enough to do their own in return. You have to assume they will eventually see them unless they are actually returned to you.

What I'm really saying her is that by supporting the Dad and respecting his decisions and opinions (which is not the same as agreeing with them) you are more likely reduce what he will percieve as a threat and eventually get what you want. Going to court means going head to head. He will dig his heels in and you are unlikely to get the court to rule in your favour if he is that against the contact.

Good luck. Not an eassy postion to get out of.

Best wishes ........ Robin

Grandparent carer in Suffolk [:)]
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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Re: Grandparents rights?

Postby seccy » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:35 pm

Hi Robin

Many thanks for you reply to my question. It makes sence what you have said and I will go down that route of writing to dad first I will try all avenues that I can , before maybe seeing a solicitor and eventually going to court over access, which if Im honest do not want to I would rather dad and I sort it out amicibly for all concerned.

Once again thank you for your advise it has really helped.


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Re: Grandparents rights?

Postby nanaJ » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:22 pm

Please do take Robin's sound advice. I believe that court should only be the last resort, it causes enormous bitterness which sometimes can never be overcome. The court can make an order and enforce it, but it can never change peoples' viewpoints and "forced" orders rarely work and will break down. It can damage family relationships for ever.

I wish you good luck with a tentative approach to the father and hope you can build up trust for the sake of all the children.

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