Grandparents: can’t see your grandchildren? What to do next if you don’t have a solicitor

Family Law|May 19th 2015

Recently, I was a guest on the BBC Breakfast Show. I was invited on to discuss the highly emotive issue of grandparents’ contact rights.

There are many grandparents who, for a multitude of reasons, are stopped from seeing their much-loved grandchildren. The distress and loss many feel can be enormous. For many millions of children, parents are a source of cheap childcare for their own children and are a much needed stop gap to enable parents to go to work without paying a fortune in childminding or nursery fees. Grandparents provide safety, food, love and attention in spades. Then one day there is a breakdown. The marriage may be ending, there may be a death in the family, or an argument that develops into a feud. So contact between grandparents and beloved grandchildren suddenly, terribly, stops. The grandchildren, too, may suffer significant emotional harm if they too suddenly lose regular contact with their Granny or Grandpa. The numbers of estranged grandparents are on the rise and many are applying to the courts in increasing numbers to continue to see their grandchildren.

So what can you do if a loving relationship is suddenly cut off by one or even both of the parents?

The first thing I would do is offer some strong and radical advice to any grandparents who find themselves in such a situation. Forget about standing on your principles. Stop blaming the parents. It’s just not worth it. They are in control of the situation, not you. Don’t be afraid to take a long hard look at your own conduct, and any ways in which you may have contributed to the situation you know find yourself in. This can be done either on your own, together, or with a therapist skilled in family breakdown.

Ask yourself:  is it possible that I have upset one or both of the parents? And if so, was this a one-off or has the situation been going on for years? Be brutally honest. Don’t hide behind the idea that it’s all one way and only the parent is at fault. You may be entirely unaware of any hurt you may have unintentionally caused by a thoughtless remark or action. Perhaps whatever you may have said or done was misreported or misunderstood, perhaps even by the grandchildren. At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters who is right or wrong and indeed whether the parents themselves behaved badly which they may well have done. What matters is seeing your grandchildren again, and them seeing you.

You may come to conclusion after soul searching that indeed YOU are the root cause of the problems you are facing. Or there again you may not. But in either case I think you should choose the conciliatory path. Don’t be afraid to calmly ask the parent concerned what you’ve done to reach this point. Ask to come over for a coffee. Say you want to put it right by any means possible. Do this by phone, email or letter and I’d suggest you keep a copy. Do keep whatever you say contained and unemotional. Be prepared, however, to apologise, and frankly, to keep on apologising. Some people need this. Be prepared to agree to terms presented by the parent that would allow you to put the situation right all the rancour behind you and see your grandchildren again. Learn from the situation. There is a lot at stake here. In short, get off your high horse try a new direction and see what happens. Again I’d also advise you to document everything.

If this doesn’t work, you can suggest mediation, whether through a professional or a trusted friend or adviser, or even family therapy. If communications have broken down, put the suggestion in writing. Again: keep a copy.

Do then, if this too doesn’t work, attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). As the name suggests, these are official meetings held to assess the suitability of a situation for mediation. And most situations are suitable. The parent(s) will be invited to attend too although they aren’t obliged to do so, (although if proceedings later occur it won’t look good) but if they do you may find that a course of mediation will do the trick. You could also be eligible for legal aid as this is still available for mediation. You need to attend a MIAM in any event before you can apply to the family court.

But what if, in spite of your best efforts, the MIAM doesn’t work? Then it’s time to apply to the courts. That is what they are there for after all – to resolve legal issues –and access to your grandchildren is one such issue.

Remember that the court will consider the case ONLY from the perspective of the child. What is in the child’s best interests? Would contact with you be the best thing for them? Would they be losing out if they don’t see you?  It doesn’t matter what you want or what the parent wants. All that matters, as far as the courts are concerned, is the welfare of the child. That is the paramount consideration.

From a practical perspective, I would recommend first reading the Child Arrangements Programme on the Justice.gov.uk website, and then the flowchart which documents the process. They are lengthy but explain exactly what will happen.

Briefly you will need to complete Form C100, seeking a child arrangements order to spend time with your grandchildren and lodge this at your local family court, paying a fee of £215. Because you don’t have parental responsibility for the grandchildren, you will first need to obtain permission of the court to proceed with your application. As long as that is granted the application will be heard.

In practice what will happen is that your case will probably be referred to the local lay magistrates who sit at the Family Court. Cafcass will be notified of your application but will only consider any urgent safeguarding issues at that point.

In considering a hearing for permission to proceed the court will apply Section 10 of the Children Act 1989 and in this case will consider:

(a)the nature of the proposed application

(b)the applicant’s connection with the child;

(c)any risk there might be of that proposed application disrupting the child’s life to such an extent that he would be harmed by it

In most cases permission will be granted. Problems might arise where both parents with parental responsibility have jointly decided against continuing contact with the grandparents and both object to permission being granted. The court might be loathe to interfere with the reasonable wishes of both parents, but it will want to consider why the parents have made that decision in the light of the welfare of the child concerned.

A first hearing dispute resolution appointment will follow a successful application for permission. Sometimes the two applications are heard on the same date depending on the time available.

The court must do everything it can to sort out the case. For example, it may be adjourned to allow a further attempt at mediation. And you know, it might just work the second time around. It’s amazing how a court room can concentrate minds. The case could also be stood down to allow negotiations. If it doesn’t settle it will go on to a further dispute resolution hearing, but in the meantime the court will have made case management orders, such as a report to be obtained and statements to be filed. If the case still fails to settle at the second hearing, it will be listed for a final hearing when the parties will explain their position.

The court must at all times consider the welfare of the child and give a voice to the child if possible. How is the child to be involved? By the Cafcass officer or in some cases by agreement, an independent social worker preparing a report? Alternatively, a letter to the Judge from the child may be appropriate. The court must always be mindful of events happening in the child’s life and in all cases not add to the pressure on the child so it is best, for example, to try and avoid exam periods.

As you can see, at every possible stage the court is required to be active and to do its best to resolve the issues between the family. And in return, it will expect cooperation and conciliation if at all possible from the family.

But if this, sadly, is not forthcoming and a court order is made in the teeth of opposition, then enforcement of the order is possible under Section 11 Children Act 1989. The court can order unpaid work, make compensation orders for financial loss or even issues fines. It can send a defaulter to prison, but those types of orders are self-evidently remedies of last resort.

The majority of cases which go to court, do eventually settle, so if handled sensibly, with a huge readiness to compromise at every stage for the sake of the grandchildren, then I would expect good results in most instances. So please, do take heed: standing on principles convinced only that you are right, when so much is at stake is an expensive choice in most civil litigation, but in family cases it can also be a recipe for misery.

 

 

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(107)

  1. Luke says:

    ” The court can order unpaid work, make compensation orders for financial loss or even issues fines. It can send a defaulter to prison, but those types of orders are self-evidently remedies of last resort.”
    ====================================================================
    .
    Can we have examples where hefty fines and/or prison sentences have been imposed on parents due to a court order forcing a parent to hand over their children to grandparents being ignored ?
    .
    I find it hard to believe the courts can be so stupid as to do this and would be interested to know how the court would justify – in the interests of the child – imprisoning or making poorer the person who actually has responsibility for the child.
    .
    These are exactly the sort of court cases we don’t want. I appreciate the good advice about reconciliation but if the parent won’t budge that should be the end of it. In trying to force the parent in such instances I think the self-absorption of the grandparents is evident…

    • Paul says:

      What an unhelpful article by Ms Stowe who seems to have no idea whatsoever about the emotional distress these situations cause grandparents. I gave up reading after the first couple of paras due to her biased leaning towards the parents where one of them is usually the catalyst for problems and restricted contact.

      You need to see things from the grandparents viewpoint Ms Stowe which is why your site crops up on a Google search. Stop defending the indefensible!

      • Kimmy says:

        So true I totally agree with you paul

        • M says:

          Hi I have been stopped from having any contact with all 5 of my grandchildren by my abusive ex husband and his girlfriend who was made a guardian by the court because my daughter became a drug addict and lost her children my ex husband decided to be abusive and controlling to me again and caused problems between me and my daughter and he stopped me seeing the children until there 18 …just because he can .i can’t get any help from anywhere no one knows about guardians stopping other grandparents.

          • Amanda jenkins says:

            The same thing has happend to me our stories are identicle ,I have been trying to get help to as my grandchildren for 2 yrs I have struggled with complex ptsd because of my abusive ex husband control over my grandchildren

          • Lisa says:

            Hi.
            I’m the aunt and me and my mother have been all around England trying to find help for my niece. She too is in a bad home neglected and abused cps are involved and back these parents and not really protect the child. We too have been cut off because social named us to parents so we too are trying to find a way to see the granddaughter/ niece but have not found it yet. We very recently learnt 1st hand that there is no child protect its all about protecting parents. Would like to hear more from you.

        • Gill says:

          I totally agree ! Is this women for real . What a one side article which I hope as not caused others as much added distress then they are probably already in . These parents are adults too and may find themselves in the same position one day . Who are they going to blame then ! Or will it still be the grandparents fault as well . We have generation of “I “ individuals who feel they have to take no responsibility for anything. They demand to be treated as adults yet behave like spoilt children themselves. Not all of us who are denied access have done anything wrong except say I’m fed up of being disrespected!

          • peggy camper says:

            I totally agree, Gill. My daughter disowned me on Mother’s Day and I am not doing well at all. It is a complicated story, but I don’t feel I deserved this as I have helped her a lot ever since she had my 3 grandsons and they lived with me for 12 years, on and off.

          • Dee says:

            I looked up this website in search of hope. This is terribly written and so upsetting. My daughter who have I supported through thick and thin with the children has found a new beau and subsequently up and run with the children. I am heartbroken but my concern is for my granddaughter who may feel that she has done something wrong and feel abandoned or worse that I am a bad person. This website made me feel like a bad person and bought out all the shame of being cut off from my grandchildren. So I won’t be using this firm to help me.

      • Heidi Farrar says:

        I agree too.

        • Erla Bowring says:

          I very much agree. Grandparents should be given more rights. I am in this situation, not allowed to see my grandson. I am heartbroken

      • Shaz says:

        Do you know of any template letter to court from a grand mother. I at every turn have had obstacle after obstacle to climb… Now it seems im a risk to my grand childten as its alledged i condoned abuse at my address towards the children.. What a joke… Never seen it towards them EVER! can you help me???

        • C says:

          I am having the same problem. I have been falsely accused of being a drug user by son in law and he told court that. Results were negative and now that I filed to have custody, I cant even see or talk to my grandchildren. I am so heartbroken over this,, I will continue to be strong and fight for what is right and the best interest for my grandchildren.

          • Sandra Lynch says:

            Dear C I am in exactly the same position. I’ve only recently found out that there were so many lies told by my daughters ex about me and the judge not informed. I’ve never had a visit about this case even though I was told I would have and not informed by anyone about the allegations or given the chance to tell or show the proof of these lies. No one apart from me helped bring these children up. I was there everyday I can’t stop crying and can’t seem to find any help. Can you give me any advice please

          • Kimmy says:

            You have to get a contact order and you will have your day in court, extremely stressful to hear your child tell lies about you(I know it’s being done to me and it’s horrible) but at least you will get visit from caffcas and get to tell them and you don’t need a solicitor. Go to citizen advice they will help all they can

          • sue says:

            I looked after my grandaughter from been a baby while my son went to work.. when he lost his job it was all my fault.. he use to bring her round all the time for me to look after her but when things dint go wright for him he stoped me & my partner from seeing her.. he.s just playing with the baines head she dnt no when she can see us shes just turned 5 the poor baine..

    • Hugh says:

      I am currently in a situation with a disruptive grandmother. She took us (parents) to court after not seeing the children for two weeks because we needed a break from her. Two weeks! (She was only seeing the kids once a week). Our relationship has disintegrated in the court process. All we wanted was to be able to exercise boundaries on our relationship and now that sensible freedom is at risk of being taken away by magistrates and that freedom might be replaced by a contact order. £4600 spent on legal fees and mediation thanks to a stupid and selfish grandmother. I can’t see us keeping up any contact arrangements at least in the near future and I suspect that any fines, if there are any, will work out cheaper than paying a solicitor in the long run.

  2. Gill Sharpe says:

    Ms Stowe Where in your comments do you make allowances for INNOCENT grandparents whose offspring have married person who just demands complete control! Your report seems to make grandparent analyse their own behaviour, with a control freak it does not matter how you conduct yourself you will never win!

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Gill
      Thanks very much for your comments. In fact you will see throughout this blog and elsewhere I have given great support for grandparents. They do get a rough deal in many cases.
      Regards
      Marilyn

      • O says:

        My son married a year ago and his wife destroyed our close relationship. She is jelous of our close bond. I paid for half the wedding and i was pushed to sit on another table and excluded from everything . When i told my son how i felt he fell out with me and i have had very little contact over the last year. Im now told when grandchildren come along i will never see them . Can they stop me ? Its tearing me apart. I have 4 grandchildren and see them regular . Please help im destraught. Olwen

      • Francis says:

        I agree 100%

    • Gamma says:

      I agree with Gil. It’s concerning when professionals neglect to mention the world-wide epidemic of parental alienation when writing about grandchildren who are denied access to extended family. There is no conciliatory path with alienators intent on severing bonds, destroying relationships, and erasing grandparents from children’s lives. If those in the legal profession don’t bring up the subject, who will?

    • jean says:

      I agree whole heartedly with your Question. After a 2year court battle that has now had, a string of accusations of grandmother being a narcissist and having mental health problems,4 Cafcass officers reports 3 of whom upheld in general what the child expressed, no evidence to uphold the accusations and was granted in an Arrangement Order , which lead to non-compliance of that order by the parents, an enforcement order- never enforced by the courts, an appeal by parents that was not granted and so therefore follow by numerous court appearances brought by the parents and solicitors, counsel and various friends until now after two years of a 70+grandmother representing herself and the wishes of her 9yr.grandson,doing all that that entails the Arrangement Order has been diminished in frequency to 12 times a year but the no contact granted for the child’s birthday or for Christmas/New year. When I wonder will the judges etc. realise that grandparents are not always the baddies in these cases and accept that their main concern is FOR THE CHILD

    • Patricia says:

      I agree with the comments of one grandparent, you make it seem that the grandparents are to blame. Same thing in my case, my son married a complete control freak, who got rid of the last grandparents and now is trying her upmost to do the same with us with my granddaughter. I am only allowed one hour and a half visit to see my granddaughter every seven weeks and is leaving us out in her birthday party and BBqs, etc. We are not allowed to join in with anything.

      • Katie says:

        We are going through the same thing we are not allowed to see our two grand babies and we were keeping them most of the time until they got mad at us. We asked them not to do drugs around the children is what started it then they refused to pay taxes on the free trailer they would live in. So they got mad and said you will never to see the children again and moved. We have paid the taxes for 7 years. They live there rent-free and we had to buy groceries sometime.

    • Kim Rollison says:

      I totally agree it’s not fair on innocent grandparents who have loved and looked after thei grandchildren as I have to have to go through such a situation, my daughter has let my grandson live with us but for spite she has stopped us seeing our granddaughter, the trouble I have had to even get the siblings to see each other, we as parents can never in a million years predict how our adult children will turn on us and if it’s never happened to you then you have no idea what it is like to lose contact with a granddaughter you have had 3/4 days a week since they were born and who you love with all your heart, its like a bereavement especially when my granddaughter is telling her brother she misses nana so much and wants to see her, courts shouldn’t charge to make that decision, my granddaughter should be asked, her mother is the one in the wrong

      • Name Witheld says:

        IIIIIIIIIIIIII TOTALY UNDERSTAND THE PAIN THEM AS A GRANDPARENT TO ONLY 2 6 AND 7 YR OLD GRANDSONS WHO B E IN MY LIFE SI NCE BORN MY SONS BOYS NOW IAM NOT TO SEE THEM ONCE AGAIN SINCE SOHURT CIAL SERIVES ARE INVOLVED THE MOTHER AND HER PARTENER NOHARMED W WAN T ME TO SEE THEM FOR XMAS BUT SOCIAL SERVICES SAY NO ONLY MY SON AND HIS DAD AND FFOR THEREAMILY BUT NOT ME I HAVE NO COURT OREDER ON ME OR EVER THEY KEEP ASKING NANA

        • Kim Rollison says:

          Have you contacted citizens advice?

          • J says:

            The grandson doesn’t know that his grandmother on his father side prayed to see him ,& he don’t know that his mother ,& Other grandparents kept him from us over 16 or 17 years. My name [name removed] is his new grandmother on his dad side ..his dad is [name removed] has been paying child support ..every since [name removed]. was born & never see his son.. And it is wrong for other grandparents to be so self mean to keep another grandparents from from seeing ..God is not please with these kind of people… [name] need to know that his father excit & his grandparent exist too and we love him. My son is on dialyzing 3 times a week Still pay child support. Social security been sending [name removed] a check out off his real father check ..I pray that this program help us ..is one of my dreams. we find him or he find us..love u [name removed]..
            (*Comment moderated)

          • M says:

            Hi I am going through the same thing it’s the paternal grandparents of my grandchildren who got together with my ex husband and his girlfriend decided to stop me ever having contact with the grandchildren I raised from birth my ex husband and his girlfriend are guardians to one grandchild and the paternal to one of the grandchildren we share plus my granddaughter that is no blood relative to her decided to stop me ever seeing them I have not seen them for 2 years I saw them every day from birth ,I was there when they were born my daughter became a drug addict and she was brain washed by her drug dealer boyfriend to give up her children ,I put in for them but my ex husband told my daughter that I was the one who reported her to social services and that was true but then he went on at her about lies so he could get control over the situation and he won ,ive been trying to see them but they told me I will have to wait until there 18 ,thing is my ex husband and his girlfriend are drug users but social services say I’m a liar because I’m bitter I can’t do anything to prove it .

    • A says:

      I can’t believe I’m one of the only people writing in on behalf of the parents in this situation but – I feel your comment minimizes the fact that – if a parent is dealing with a narcissistic grandparent – that grandparent will NEVER acknowledge the damage done by THEIR problems with control – but will probably blame the parent for being a “control freak”. In our family, my mother suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, and has done great damage to our family – all while, I am sure, in her head, blaming my husband and I. Let me give you a few examples; we wanted to buy a home, and went house hunting for 2 years; every home we brought up was “not good enough” for our child, and ultimately she said, “I can build you a 1800 sq ft new home for 120K…if you want it, it will be there.” My Mom is not a builder. But she was so pushy and critical we allowed her this thinking – perhaps she can do it? 3 years later – because she insisted on controlling every aspect of the build – she not only massively flubbed the house (which is still not done) – but also got my husband’s father involved (who is a professional builder) – and then, when things didn’t come within her unrealistic budget – created a huge family drama where she called him every name under the sun, accused my husband of conniving with him to screw her over, never paid him, and then threatened to sue him. She was livid when we paid him from our own funds, because we didn’t think her treatment of him was right. During this process, because she refused to floor the 2nd story while working on it, she fell off and broke her leg, and I wound up trying to take care of her during her transition out of the hospital. She did not express any gratitude but snapped at me the entire time, even when I was wiping her butt after she went to the bathroom; she had me “break her out” of the nursing home – which I did by taking over her care, and then, to prove she was super strong or something, tried to do dangerous things like walk on the broken leg or not use any ramps for going up stairs, trying to guilt trip me into being her full time caretaker in her home – where she is always hoping we will all stay, and where her psychological abuse is worst. When I would not take her home from our aunt’s house – who was capable of caring for her – she and my grandmother basically acted like I was the worst human being in the world for leaving her there, instead of enabling her to hurt herself “for the sake of the family” (building this ego trip house). We thankfully had to relocate because of a mass layoff, but she continued wanting to see my eldest son. She has 3 grandkids, including my younger son, and my niece. She continually only acts as though my eldest son exists – vastly preferring him to any of the other grandchildren. We’ve tried to make it work, even with her personality problems, just for her sake, but it has become INTOLERABLE. I gave up my job in engineering to homeschool our child; they never expressed support for this, and CONTINUALLY bring up the “idea” of sending him to public or private school – alternately blaming me for quitting my job and living in an area with a poorer public school and lower taxes (since we homeschool for the moment) – and sometimes just saying “we’ll pay for it” and trying to coax me to give him up to whatever school will take him “for his sake” (he’s perfectly happy at home, and I am trying hard to socialize him through the church and other avenues). Though I METICULOUSLY cook organic, unprocessed foods for our children – right down to the bread, I put so much thought and effort into their food – my mother has constantly tried to take over our food choices – ALWAYS finding them inadequate; the last time she was here, I wound up, for the first time, kicking her out, and her only parting statement, besides swearing at me was “my God you need to FEED those kids – those poor kids need to EAT!” THIS IS ABSURD. What is actually going on here is she chooses to skip meals because she comes from a weight conscious culture, and she therefore wants to continually feed others; I had carefully prepared a roast and salad with home made, non MSG dressing – which she even ate the prior night remarking on how good it tasted – and yet, with all of this, despite our talking with her about not bringing outside food into the house – she gave my kids nuts and seeds behind my back. They then scattered this all over the living room. She refuses to take the time to clean up when a mess is made, and because this is not a priority for her (but she knows I will have to do it) – she of course sees no problem with giving the kids food in all areas of the house, or alternately playing with delicate toys and leaving them scattered everywhere for me to clean. She has often scoffed that washing dishes and cleaning the house is for people of lower intelligence (so you can imagine what that means she thinks about me), and seems to openly hate (but denies it) housewives. The last confrontation was actually over the air conditioning; how petty, no? It was 70 degrees in the house, and rather than politely asking for the temperature to be adjusted, she tried to use my children to manipulate me into changing the temperature – because, “you’re freezing them!” I can’t convey here how much I love my children. I gave up my job to treasure them. To lavish love on them. I care about the details. I breastfed my youngest till he was 2, and my oldest, because breastfeeding didn’t work – I pumped for 14 months to try to give him the equivalent. I do focus on cleaning; I like a clean house, I feel it is a gift to our family and the kids. But I’m only human. Yes OF COURSE I am a control freak – what good parent ISN’T? But I think it’s time grandparents look at themselves FIRST before calling the parent a control freak; is it right to criticize everything your children or their spouses do just to feel superior? Just to feel like you are contributing? Is it right to challenge the most minute choices and to constantly imply the parent is not prioritizing or doing well enough with their own children – to make someone else feel badly, play on their anxiety, and stress them out to the point they are a bad parent – just to feel important?? My Mom eventually, when confronted, started lying to my face – saying she would follow rules only to break them; though she never eats sugar herself, she baked an enormous cake for us, and then had the gall to talk about how I’m malnourishing the kids (she’s also guilt tripped me before over giving them their morning chocolates after breakfast – tiny pieces of chocolate, of the highest quality, and not very many). My son couldn’t even choose a table in a restaurant we went to because – “this table’s in the sun, it’s better”. She’s very pleasant IF EVERYTHING is on her terms. And guess what, in my house, it’s not. I wound up, after repeated warnings, kicking her out of our house mid trip. If you are a narcissistic grandparent – you may not know it; your own parents and your spouse’s parents may never have undermined you in the same way; you may not know what it feels like on the parental side. My Mom actually grabbed my son during a night terror, blamed me for it, and said that I wasn’t his Mom, that he belonged to her. Just, try to imagine a STRANGER doing that to YOU as a parent; would you tolerate it from a stranger? If not, why would you do that to your child? Or your child’s spouse? Do you have any idea how hard it is to be the “bully” who prevents an undermining grandparent from coming; who has to deal with the constant abusive, guilt tripping emails – which would never even have to happen if the grandparent wasn’t such a control freak themselves? Can you honestly say you’ve never manipulated, lied to, or demeaned your child or their spouse? I understand there are a lot of irresponsible parents out there – perhaps situations where the parent is doing drugs, or, maybe on a different order of magnitude – not providing healthy nutrition or attachment, perhaps disciplining in an overly harsh way, or neglecting their child, etc. But I think this is the minority, and not the majority – and personally I just can’t stand grandparents who are SO surprised at the “horrible” behavior of their grandkid’s parents without EVER actually sitting down and thinking through their own actions. My own mother once said “I never did anything wrong raising you.” Verbatim. She’s a person who doesn’t make mistakes! I can say, I regret not having more patience with her and kicking her out of my house; but I still feel I have no other option, unless she seeks mental help. An iota of humility goes a long way.

      • T says:

        I have one just like won’t take responsibility for anything

        • Jo says:

          Spot on!! A narcissist will always consider you to be their property. If you choose a different path or God forbid have different views, they will make your life unbearable to the point of submission. It’s only when they direct their abuse towards you and threatens your own parenting and undermine you in front of your own kids we snap. I’m one of both parents going to court shortly to fight for my family. I’m a grown adult and should no longer be labeled her child. Nor is a grandchild an extension of one of their possessions.
          Being a grandparent should be a PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT and should be earnt by being a positive influence to your daughter/son first. If they can’t see you as being a positive influence in their life, how can they possibly imagine you can be positive to the children. Some seriously need to get their head out of their arses and look in the mirror. Mine didn’t always feed me and even punched me to stop me trying to go to my father’s as a kid and has the frickin cheek to degrade me in front of my child and even try to take her from me because I wouldn’t do things her way.

          • A says:

            hi there please could someone contact me I am in hell over my abusive ex husband he’s still in control of my grown up children and their children he’s denied me all contact since 2016 and I am seriously ill over it I don’t know how long I can go on

          • Cameron Paterson says:

            Hello – if you can tell us which part of the country you live in we’ll ask a solicitor from the nearest office to drop you a line

  3. Susan says:

    I have to say I am on a website of alienated grandparents and in nearly all cases it is the parents using the child as a weapon it should not be legal in the first place. How on earth is that behaviour in the child’s best interest? Your comments sound very one sided in favour of the parents. Walk in our shoes then judge!!!

    • Luke says:

      I agree with Andrew, it really isn’t about “walking in your shoes” or indeed anybody else’s “shoes” – if the parent(s) and grandparents cannot get on it is very sad – but trying to do anything against the parent(s) (who has/have direct responsibility by law for the children) is totally impractical and a very bad idea.
      I don’t think I need to reiterate the reasons why in my previous post.

      • susan says:

        Its about the child not the parents or grandparents it should always be whats best for the child some parents have no thought of what harm they are doing to there own child because all they are thinking about is themselves! Children need extended family in thier lives its actually cruel to take away people they love and love spending time with and will no doubt have negative effect on the rest of thier lives.

        • Luke says:

          Susan, what’s in the interests of the children is a matter of opinion – but regardless, you never actually address the issue of what can actually be done about it if the parents refuse to cooperate !
          .
          Clearly fining the parents or gaoling them is not in the interests of the children as the parents are either poorer (so cannot spend as much on the children) or locked up (so not available to the children). This is all clearly ridiculous in my view – the parents have a duty of care to the children, they are the key players here (NOT the grandparents) and in the very sad cases where there is acrimony inevitably what the parents want must prevail.
          .
          I am amazed that you (or anybody else) think that going to court is a solution for grandparents – I’m trying to be diplomatic but frankly it’s just completely bonkers !

          • susan says:

            Obviously Luke you are not a Grandparent and I would wonder if you are even a parent? I find your view very naive and single minded! Unfortunately for lots of us the last resort is court and so it should be, children arent pawns they should never be used as weapons and luckily the majority of parents would not dream of doing such a thing . However for those that do they wont get away with it, court is the answer!!!

          • Luke says:

            OK Susan, your ‘answer’ really is court and all that that entails for all parties, you talk about naivety but let’s see how this generally plays out in the English courts over the next ten years – I think I know and I think it’s inevitable…

          • sue says:

            I think susan is right luke bet your not even a parent never mind a grandparent.. grandparents get used for baby sitting like i did then when thinks dint go right for my son it took it out on me & my partner & stop us seeing my grandaughter, shes not allowed to see any family at all shes lucky if she gets to see her mother once a month. Shes a child not a toy she has feelings.. so dnt say thinks you dnt understand unless your one of these control freaks??

          • Emma says:

            I have an issue at present that has been on-going for the last 9.5 years of my life. I got with my partner and the first contact I had from his parents was warning me not to move from Scotland to be with him. The I met them for the first time about 6 months in to our relationship. I might say they were very strange with me, very judgemental and extrememly rude, but I tolerated them. The after 2 years I discovered I was pregnant. This is when the fun and games really started. From the moment my son was born they barged into the hospital room, even before I was cleaned up and what a nuisance they caused.
            They have made my life a nightmare for the last 9 years and for the last 6 years made out that I have prevented them from seeing their grandson, the child that they tried to register whilst i was still in hospital the child that was named after his grandfather even after i did not want this. They picked our first house and bought it rented it to us and we bought it off them but have never been able to truly call it our home. They say I do not make them welcome that they cannot come to visit! I have never turned them away and have always offered drinks which they turned their noses up at. I went holiday with them and they made our holiday hell even going out taking the car and taking the keys so we could not leave the apartment. Always put their daughters son who was born second first. Told me that my son would go to hell if anything happened to him as I would not baptize him. Rude to my family at birthday parties ignoring my mother. Spoke about my family negatively. Spoke about me in front of my son some really private and adult themed conversations that should not be heard by a 6 year old. For 9 years I have endured these people and the last straw was last night yet another late night visit from my partners father accusing me of things that I have not done. They had our son for the day on Sunday and was questioning him about where he has been, why he had stayed at my sisters house, telling him that they are his real family and not my family. I have now decided that they can not and will not have my son without his father present as I cannot trust the things they are saying to him. They will instruct a solicitor and try to drag this through the courts. As a mother I am doing what I do best, protect MY SON from these hateful, judgemental people who think they’re victims of their sons partner just deciding not to allow them to have one on one access to their grandson!

          • A says:

            My heart goes out to you Emma. It truly sounds like your in laws are worse than my own Mom; can you imagine how much worse if it would be your own Mom doing these things instead of your husband’s? Thankfully, my Mom is not quite as bad – she just purely wants control, but isn’t quite as abusive as your in laws. At least you can cut them off with very little guilt given that they’re not your own parents, right?

        • sue says:

          Hi susan i have the same problem as you not been able to se my grandaugher.. i think luke is an idiot who do not understand our problem i have sent him a comment.

      • Kim.rollison says:

        I so agree how can you mediate with parents who are spiteful, I can’t believe the way some mothers behave for spite, each case should be different I am at my wits end no one wants to help grandparents, all you hear is grandparents have no rights, England is so behind in this

      • Lwebster says:

        absolutely, walk in our shoes, the pain of women using their kids as choice of weapons is hard to bear, why are in laws so vilified? can’t wait to get into the family then want to destroy it

      • Kimmy says:

        I agree with you what is wrong with some mothers using their child in disagreements,

    • jean says:

      Well said Susan. Most I have been in front of fro 2years just want to get the cases over asap, regardless of the best interest of the child who they never seem to take the trouble to hear!!!

  4. Andrew says:

    I am firmly of the view that parents with care are far too readily allowed to uproot themselves and the children to the detriment of their contact with the other parent and that either the Supreme Court of parliament should consign Payne to history.
    .
    Not so where other relations including grandparents are concerned. I would not be troubled by parents with care moving to better their own lives and grandparents losing contact – their interests are secondary.
    .
    I know others will disagree and will have some heart-rending stories to tell; but that is my view.

  5. Pat says:

    I am disgusted with the statements you made in both your interview with BBC and in this blog.
    From being an integral role in our grandchildrens lives contact was stopped with us at the whim of their emotionally abusive mother. Unfortunately every solicitor fighting her case attacked us for being loving grandparents, for being grandparents who prioritised their needs and for being their only source of stability.

    As you state, the significance of the grandparents role in their grandchildrens lives is often overlooked or mistaken for being free childcare, instead of seeing it being the heart of where love and family values are instilled in the them, and providing the firm foundation and roots of where their social identity comes from.
    Unfortunately for all of us grandparents so severely affected by loss of contact, with beloved grandchildren we have no rights, we are completely overlooked and ignored by the legal system, even if contact orders are in place, controlling mothers who don’t want their children seeing grandparents for no substantive or valid reason other than an inability to prioritise their children’s needs in front of their own still manage to get away with ignoring court enforced orders and manipulating every system going. What is even more heartbreaking is that as grandparents, cut off from what could have been daily contact with grandchildren we struggle to process this loss, and we are adults. So the emotional distress and trauma inflicted on the grandchildren, who don’t understand why they can’t see their grandparents, can’t comprehend it and very often get told lies is untold and unimaginable.
    Yet grandparents and grandchildren continue to suffer, quite often because there are unscrupulous legal representatives who fight and attack grandparents at their very core to “keep their clients happy”, with no consideration for what is best for the children. Everything is geared up around children being with their mothers, and allowing controlling mothers to abuse their position and emotionally harm their children with the support of a court order.
    Your comments are unhelpful and your attitude of blame is appalling, we are often the only voice of reason in divorces and more first and foremost the only ones truly prioritising the children’s needs.

    • Luke says:

      Pat, I am very sorry that you have fallen out with the mother and cannot see your grandparents, that is very sad indeed – but your views on what one is entitled to as a grandparent are quite bizarre and completely impractical.
      .
      What you regard as disgusting from Marilyn I think most people would see as normal, in fact I think Marilyn goes far too far in favour of grandparents, I believe most people would think that taking to court the parents – who have full legal responsibility for their children – by people who don’t (i.e. grandparents) as quite wrong.

      • Pat says:

        Luke, I don’t think you understood my comment. Your comment has one major flaw….the assumption that all those with legal responsibilities (ie parents) have the best interests of the children as a priority.

        I would like to live in your world where all those that have full legal responsibility (I.e. Parents) prioritise the needs of their children and encourage them and promote contact with all of their family that love them, because then there would be no need for those that care about the emotional and physical wellbeing of their grandchildren (ie grandparents) wouldn’t need to go to court.
        In your world, being able to communicate with ex-daughter in laws is always possible as everyone puts the children’s needs and wishes first.
        I agree an amicable and constructive relationship is 1000 times better than a destructive one. Unfortunately not everyone shares those thoughts. there are some people whose thirst for control and selfishness trumps any amicable behaviour from grandparents or fathers for that matter. There are some mothers who do use their children in a way that no mother ever should and no matter how many times the grandparents (who for the record are putting the children’s needs first) keep their thoughts to themselves (because they are thinking of their grandchildren) and are treated in the most appauling and hurtful ways but maintain their silence and dignity because they will do anything to spend time with their beloved grandchildren even if that means tolerating unacceptable behaviour.

        Despite what you think, I don’t have a bizarre concept of what grandparents are entitled to, I have a belief that all grandchildren have the RIGHT to see and speak to their parents (both parents) and grandparents whenever they want. They should be free to pick up the phone and communicate with family they love without fear of reprimand or punishment, and most importantly they should be encouraged to maintain the relationships with cousins they spent every day with, aunts uncles and grandparents. I consider the notion that you think that is bizarre or a sense of irrational entitlement very sad for you. a loving, caring, stable family with strong values is what provides a solid foundation for children as they grow. I can’t imagine why anyone would think a weekly phone call or visit is completely impractical….I mean surely in your perfect world the children are able to call grandparents and see them when they want because the mother sees the benefit, and let’s face it one 5 minute phone call can’t be all that impractical?

        Anyway, given the fact that we don’t live in a perfect world where everyone has the best interests of the children at heart, grandchildren continue to miss out on meaningful relationships with their non-resident parents families, worst for those that have had it and then ripped away.
        I suppose if you’ve never had it you don’t see the value in it or feel the absence of it.

        • Luke says:

          Your first statement is the problem Pat :-
          ===
          “Luke, I don’t think you understood my comment. Your comment has one major flaw….the assumption that all those with legal responsibilities (ie parents) have the best interests of the children as a priority.
          ===
          .
          I understood your comment perfectly well, clearly YOU think that in your case the parent(s) (i.e. the one(s) who actually have legal responsibility) don’t have the best interests of the children as a priority – but rightly or wrongly nobody else who actually has the power to change it has come to that conclusion – if they did then the parent(s) wouldn’t have any custody let alone residency.
          .
          Your view doesn’t change that position no matter how strongly you feel it – and frankly you are coming across as somebody who expects to get their own way and immediately goes on the attack if they don’t – I don’t suppose this helps when it comes to a rapprochement.
          .
          Grandparents or anybody else (unless of course they are the legal guardians) have no legal responsibilities and should have no rights over other people’s children – even if they are related to them – it’s up to the parents to decide what is best for them and that is how it should be.
          .
          Obviously as previously stated it would be better if everybody got along – but clearly that isn’t the case in your situation and many others.
          I would add as a side note you are quite entitled to feel “sad for me” because I disagree with you – I don’t mind…

          • Pat says:

            The point Is clear:
            Being a parent with ‘rights’ over your child does not mean you prioritise their needs over your own. If you did, no-one would need courts or solicitors and the world would be a better place.

            Our family courts are set up with the ideology that a mother is always the best place for the children completely disregarding opinions expressed to the court from professionals aswell as family members. I would like to think our case was isolated, however I have come across many heartbroken fathers and grandparents who have unfortunately had similar experiences.

            Yes I am passionate about this but ‘on the attack’ most definitely not. Maybe my disappointment shows because the reality is very different from my original belief that the legal system in our country is their to protect and defend the innocent. And maybe, more than that, the disappointment that not everyone is willing to find common-ground to make it work for the children.

          • Philip says:

            Pat, you are very clear, very hurt and very persistent. Luke is trying to goad you in to an over reaction, I guess. I agree with you that he does not understand and is obviously NOT a grand parent.
            I too have a control oriented daughter in law who seems to have brainwashed my son to her very dogmatic position. She has to be right, every time. Any dissent to her warped view is taken as an attack on her and she is now using my grand children as a pawn to get at me. I think she is projecting “bad father” on to me from unresolved issues with her own father. What can I do? I have resolved that I have to wait until the children are old enough to speak up for themselves and challenge her as to why their grandparents are not seen. I do not see any child abuse going on, so no court will find in my favour against the parents, even though emotional confusion will hurt them. I feel sad for them in that they are denied what should be a common right to a larger loving family. I never had that family, my son did, and now the grand children are denied it. Very hurtful and unfair, but the law gives us and the grand children no rights. The courts cannot put hat right until there is a high court precedent for us to look to.

          • A says:

            Pat, I don’t know the specifics of your situation – I only know that it is what my mother would surely invent about me to justify her invasion into our lives. Can you give some concrete examples of how the mother has not prioritized her children and why you, as grandparents, need to overwhelm her? My Mom would claim in a heartbeat that I do not well prioritize my children. Despite cooking 3 wholesome, organic, and meticulously prepared meals a day – if my eldest son for WHATEVER reason does not heartily consume dinner (just 1 out of 3 meals) – she will insult me by suggesting it’s my fault, suggesting he is malnourished, and basically just laying on the guilt to make herself feel better. I gave up my job to homeschool our children, and have even breastfed the 2nd to 2 years old – but for a narcissistic grandparent this becomes – “you’ve taken your child’s ability to socialize” and “the poor child will surely be malnourished relying so heavily on your breastmilk.” Had I weaned him she would surely say – “no substitute for mother’s breast milk!” I am here to say that I have done everything my imperfect self is capable of for these kids. Sometimes I take a break and go online. I feel guilty about it. I already have enough guilt in my life. My Mom comes once a month inviting herself over, and basically kicks me in the teeth no matter how extensive my efforts are to be the perfect parent. If she could literally steal my eldest son away, I think she would do it. She is eagerly anticipating the birth of my third child in the hopes that I will be incapacitated and need her help, or, in her mind, the BEST scenario ever – that I would actually let my son go unsupervised to her house. In her mental illness, she doesn’t even realize that she only does this with my oldest son, and basically mostly ignores the rest of the grandkids. Question to you – how do you know you’re not just crazy and wanting to relive being a parent by stealing your grandkid from their parent? Tell me what makes this Mom SOOO terrible for her child. As a Mom, I feel it is INNATE for a mother to be flooded, maybe even overwhelmed, with emotions for her own child; many mother’s would go to their death to protect their children. I HAVE seen rare cases where the Mom was on drugs, or super young or something to that effect and all the dominoes have not fallen into place but – I am really wary now when I hear grandparents talking about their grandkid’s parents. So enlighten us as to why this woman is so terrible.

      • Kim Rollison says:

        My god you’ve said it , exactly how I feel

    • jean says:

      If like me you were forced to represent yourself and come up against solicitors, counsel etc. I can really appreciate your feelings. Unfortunately, Judges in particular show little understanding of what it is like to be placed in that position in a court room and offer little or no support until, if your brave enough you have to remind them that you are at a great disadvantage and ask that you therefore be guided in the process and with support. Unfortunately what then most often follows is judges stating all the laws, acts and compliances they say they have regarded to when making their decision which often seems obvious they are covering themselves against any most unwanted appeal and the childs interest gets lost in all this, very sad for the children involved.

    • Arten says:

      well said Pat, both me and my wife have seen the courts in action , during our daughters divorce, and as you say they are so so biased towards the mother, that they are readily manipulated to the mothers end, courts rely an people telling the truth, but where there is little truth in what the mother is saying they seem unable to distinguish truth from reality , CAFCAS seem no better, in recognising lies and so the mother wins every time, almost by default setting of the courts, and anyone else Fathers and Grandparents don’t have a leg to stand on

    • Kimmie says:

      Pat you have said it all so well I’m going through a nightmare in court with my daughter and her partner that I have wanted to give up and walk away, the stress is unbelievable, to think your daughter could say such lies and get so personal is awful.
      Why do the court always think the mother is honest and to top it up if an order is made they don’t have to obey it.

  6. Amanda says:

    I am on a site which grandparents are fighting to see grandchildren why is it that they always believe the mother even if they are in the wrong and the grandparents get the raw deal. This is so wrong and someone with some power should get this law changed. Our grandchildren and us grandparents are missing out on so much. I wish someone could point me in the right direction to fight and try and get this law changed.

  7. Debs says:

    Arguing with Luke ladies, is going to get you nowhere. What he states is absolutely right, as the law stands now. It is unlikely to change and the only time he would become a tad more emotional is, if the law did change and the legal work entailed in helping alienated families to maintain contact, disappeared overnight. Some people just see things in black and white and that definitely does not include us as grandparents – this is a highly emotive subject. I believe the legal system is actually contributing to the demise of the family unit. What I will say is keep fighting if that is the right thing for you. What the parent(s) is/are doing is morally wrong. We really need a champion to lead our cause and give some rights to grandparents whereby the parent has to apply to court to deny access and prove there is a good reason why. Currently, I don’t hold out much hope. I have three grandchildren I don’t see, no fault of my own and I despise the mother for causing me and my family so much hurt. I also know that one day they will come looking for us and she will be the loser. I’m not lining a lawyers pockets to tell me what I already know.

  8. Andrew says:

    Come off it. If grandparents why not aunts and uncles, cousins, you name it?
    .
    NRP is a parent and contact with (usually) him is to be encouraged and PWC should have to establish a good reason why not – and moving the child away should be much more difficult than it is. Other relations: no. We live on a society of nuclear families.

  9. Luke says:

    Debs, you of course have a right to your opinion on this subject – and of me – but I am confused by this statement:
    .
    ===
    “It is unlikely to change and the only time he would become a tad more emotional is, if the law did change and the legal work entailed in helping alienated families to maintain contact, disappeared overnight.”
    ===
    .
    I have no idea why you think this would make me more emotional on the subject and less logical – unless you are under the total misapprehension that I am a lawyer and it would affect my work.

  10. CB says:

    Access to Grandchildren, I think also depends on relationship, if the mother of your Grandchildren is your daughter, no problem, if your son is the father and split from the mother or in our case deceased,, my own experience and advice is the same as Debs @ 1.23 Wait in hope that in adulthood the Granchildrens prospective of Grandparental involvement should never have been stopped

    • jean says:

      Whoops! Has someone forgotten Children’s rights?

    • A says:

      I’m confused what you mean with “if the mother is your daughter, then no problem.” Why would that always be the case? If you believe that a mother could be so inept and abusive towards her own children, why would she suddenly change if she were a grandparent?

  11. Jacky says:

    I have got visitation through court to see my grandson..I see him twice a month which is much better than nothing …but at a price….it infuriates my daughter and her husband who are both very controlling … every wk there are threats .abuse changing the bar whenever they feel like it .Telling my grandson horrendous lies … like he’s going die at midnight if he stays here …so what I think is that sometimes the parents are so bad and so controlling it’s impossible to right …when things are this nasty …and was before court ….do they deserve to actually have that right as a parent to ‘be in charge’ because quite obviously they haven’t got their child’s best interest at heart…I had him nearly every day he also lived here for a while she then met some one who is a lot older and very controlling … because I spoke to them (and I mean spoke ) about some allegations made grandson made I was thrown out of their house hit by my daughter and stopped from seeing him …and these are responsible parents ?????

    • Nana says:

      Jacky, your situation is so similar to my own. My husband and I have hired a lawyer in hopes that we can get regular visits with our granddaughter that I have co-parented since birth. I feel your pain and all the other grandparents pain that is or has gone through this.

    • K says:

      I have the same with my daughter, her oldest child has close to live with me so she has stopped my other grandchild seeing us she has also told that child lies that we don’t love her , it’s awful to think your daughter can turn out that way, and people should not judge all grandparents as demanding, my grandchild wants to see us but I have to pay to go to court instead of welfare or someone just asking her , so she is left with a controlling foul mouthed mother who makes the rules as to who the child should see, not right

      • K says:

        How did you do it? Are you in England? I’m desperate for advice, the trouble is I don’t want to make her more angry but I feel I have no choice as the grandchild wants to see us and I don’t want her to think I don’t care, it’s so hard as to know what to do

    • Kimmy says:

      Jacky I would like to know what county you are in as I’m in Herts and going to court the third time tomorrow as to contact with my granddaughter who’s brother lives with us.
      It has been the worst year of my life and the stress was like nothing I’ve known, caffcas didn’t interview her on her her the daughter wouldn’t allow it and I know why.
      Will the court decide tomorrow? As I want this to end.

  12. Jacky says:

    Re reading this ….stop blaming the parents what us that all about …my daughter has always had everything she ever needed ..we have moved her at least 6 times …give her furniture …bailed her out of trouble umpteen times …she moved bk in with us when she had a fight with her child’s father …and never moved out for over a year completely rent free and waited on hand and foot …I was her birthing partner and when she came home I looked after both doing night feeds si she could rest ..my husband was a ‘taxi’ driver for her so she could visit her friends and have evenings out while I stayed in and put my life on hold to look after my grandchild .she had countless ‘boyfriends’ while we picked up the pieces …then she met someone 22 years older than her who had firm for alienating women from their families and so it started …I would ring to ask to see my grandson and told to go F yourself …drop dead …your a piece of SxxT…you’ve never done anything for me ….on a gd day if be allowed rnd to help her with her cleaning so they could have a BBQ for his family and I wasn’t invited ..this is just a small few pointers so you understand why I don’t think I should apologise…I don’t think I should beg esp as I have done just that and got told …poor poor you you self pitying piece of shit ..that was when my granddaughter died and I wasnt allowed to see her hold her or go to her funeral…so no I do not think I’m in the wrong or need to say sorry for anything !!!!

  13. j says:

    On reading some of the above comments it stands out very clearly that Luke is extremely cold i dont know if he has experienced any of what is being discussed. A child is a child a little person who has a God given right to feel wanted, receive love,security,courtesy,association with his/her extended family & peers taught to respect him/herself and others, manners,exercise, sunshine fun and laughter to enable them to grow into worthwhile adults. I see so many parents who have no concept of what their role should be Not all grandparents are good but my belief is there are far more good grandparents than good parents. It is time the government sat down and establish what is a parent.. iT ppears the law bases everything on one size fits all. IT DOES NOT. Also if you want to interfere in family matters make a note that costs incurred fighting these cases need to be addressed. Solicitors are very big winners in these situations whilst my beloved granddaughter has gone through a year of trauma and it is not over yet. She has one parent who is either mentally ill or just plain cruel and another who has his own agenda and puts his daughter last. Social services in their wisdom gave her back into her parents custody without looking into things thoroughly. So i am not only seeking custody of my treasured granddaughter. I am also holding social services to account for their total failure to protect her. The Grandparent helpines are overstretched that must send out signals, something radically wrong is going on in our country which needs to be urgently addressed. When all of the issues regarding the custody of my granddaughter are settled I want to start a campaign for changes in the law with the help of interested grandparents around the country having to deal with this very emotive issue

  14. j says:

    I forgot to mention in my last comment that the first thing that should be done before things get lost in translation is to speak with the child or children involved and ascertain what they want, ensuring they have not been tutored beforehand. Social services told me my daughter’s human rights would be infringed on one occasion. I asked did my granddaughter not have human rights also. I received no answer to that.

  15. Elena says:

    Your article is completely what we are going through. A few weeks ago, my ex-mother in law was speaking to my son and I heard her badmouthing me to him – she has done it in the past. I intercepted and told her that it was inappropriate to denigrate me to the children and in my own home which she denied. But then she started to denigrate my mother to me – I would even call “slander”. It is obvious that this came from my ex-husband who has denigrated my mother in sms and emails to me and verbally to the children because she “recited almost words for words”. I muut say that my ex-husband even discussed the contects of the divorce petitions to his parents.

    A piece of advice to any grand parents who read this comment: never gossip or criticize your daughter or son in law in front of the children and never interfere in the couple’s divorce whether it is on the finance, the matrimonial home, etc……

    I agree with your article, it is so true that sometimes grand parents do not remain in their place

  16. Gill says:

    From the start you start asking us grandparents to question our behaviour, my daughter married a younger man who was an absolute control freak who questioned my every word and deed, the only thing he welcomed was my money. I find it disappointing to read that you want me to question my behaviour when two grown adults are preventing me from having a loving, giving relationship with my two much loved grandchildren.

    • A says:

      You know, my narcissistic mother would probably say the same thing about us if she could! Instead of giving us respect and coming alongside us as parents to actually help constructively….she tries to control everything and then accuses ME of being a control freak. On the flip side, she is always trying to lavish money on us so she could feel like she’s “doing something”. We NEVER take it because we know – we just know that is EXACTLY what she would say later “oh, they just took my money and never let me be a grandparent, etc.” My Mom is hellaciously controlling. Hellaciously. People with control issues related to narcissism need professional help, not grandchildren.

  17. S says:

    Ican. Not. Understand after being around my 6 yr old and 7 yr old grNdsons from birth. Now only can see them one hr and a half once a fortnight beacuse the mother of them is bitter still on drugs and drink with her other partner my son as them alot but i cant be with them now for nothing only seen them 4 times since may and tgey ask there daddy where is nana he uoset to but social services our allowing my grandsons to suffer and tgere mother and partner still drink heavy and are still on drugs its beound us all

  18. Sienna says:

    Hi I have read all of the comments on this page, and I need advice, and only found one person who seems to have one a case in court to see there grandchild, so I am now wondering if it is worth going down this route and giving my sons girlfriend more reason to not let me see her.
    like many of you I had my grandchild from a very early age till she was 6, several days and nights on the trot and my son tell me they thought they could use me anytime they wanted to, but for me I loved having her so it was me that was gaining and the child too.
    her parents my son and his girlfriend were both heavily into drugs, and drink, My son is now not had a drink or drugs now for 4 years as things came to a head when she decided she wanted to end the relationship with him, he then got into trouble with the police and has been in jail for 18 months but as far as I am aware from her friends she is still doing drugs, and her mother now has the child whenever she wants them too. I have seen the child with her mother on several occasions and she said she had thought it through and would not stop me seeing her, I take her brother and sister with me when we see her, this is only for an hour and I have now not seen her for six months, Just says that she will get back to us but doesn’t, I have all her presents hear and her birthday presents too as her birthday is in January. I still buy a lot of her cloths and shoes and coats and school uniform as I always did while I had her, as I know this will save her money, its not easy bringing up kids on your own as I had to do it myself. Can anyone tell me is it worth going to court, do you know anyone that had one there case, I do really miss my grandchild so much and when I do see her she is all over me,
    but I am frightened that this will cause her not to see her at all, she is very controlling and I no this his her daughter and my sons buti don’t know how long this will go on for, she has 1 brother and sister who are now over 18 and they miss her so much, and I sometimes wonder what she thinks in her little head, no daddy no brother and sister and no nanny who had me more than mum and dad did
    so can any of you help me.

    • Kim says:

      Don’t know sienna I am trying to get help to see my granddaughter and to be honest I feel like no one actually cares about the relationship of grandparents with grandchildren I don’t have the money to see lawyers so I am going to see what I can do myself, all I want is for my granddaughter to be asked if she wants to see as , which she does, it’s a nightmare to think you’ve done everything for your child then for them to treat you like this using their children ( our grandchildren) as pawns in thei selfish attitude, if I was so bad why has her son those to live with me so as payback she has refused to let me see my granddaughter. There is no real help for us honest loving grandparents, and the lengthy process is staggering, it has got so stressful for me that it has made me ill, I would never have stopped my mother seeing her grandchildren but then again years ago we had more respect

  19. Name Witheld says:

    my daughter was a single mother at 18 and remained in my home till she was 22, so my eldest grand daughter grew up with me in her life, my daughter met a very insecure but controlling man when my grand daughter was 5, they went on to have another 4 children, all this time my grand daughter would spend weekends and all school holidays with me, Then out of the blue 2 and a half years ago the boyfriend told my grand daughter at xmas that would be the last time she saw me until she gets to 18, she is now 14 and she secretly messaged me on instagram for 2 weeks, i told her to tell her mother as if she found out there would be trouble, well she found out so has stopped that contact, My grand daughter wants to see me, but they wont allow it, they use stupid reasons, and im at a loss what to do next, If i go to court i know i will never be allowed to see the other children, but what is all this doing to my grand daughter? its her i worry about, why let a child know you for 12 plus years and then tell the child and grand mother you cannot see each other anymore. How in this day and age is that right in any way. I cannot afford to go to court but im wondering if there is any other way, My grand daughter is the one suffering(it kills me, but she’s the one losing out). i still have her birthday presents here as ive not been allowed to give them to her

    • Kim says:

      I am in the process of applying for a contact order which is I think £230 but if you are on low income you can apply for payment exemption which I am also doing, the solicitor advised me this and then you can do it yourself, download the forms at gov.uk/contact-grandchild-parents -divorce-separate, it’s all on there to print and fill in.take them to the family court where the child lives, the family solicitor I saw told me these cases are rare where I live and in fact she had never had one, my situation is complicated as my daughters eldest lives with me but she has stopped us seeing the little one it’s very stressing for her and me and she is only 7 , it’s easier when they are past 10 as they have a say, anyway this is what I am doing I have printed 4 sets of each and I shall be taking them to the court. Hope this helps and for me my daughter is and never will talk to me again so no loss

    • JM says:

      I went to court …And won access to my grandson my daughter now has twins who I don’t see …I don’t regret going to court at all and to be honest if you went to court you could apply to see all the children…You said you were worried you might not see the others but you aren’t seeing them anyway so I don’t see what difference it would make …I do know they would take your grandaughters wishes into account and at the moment I would think of what this is doing to her

  20. Jenny says:

    Hi Marylin,

    Thank you for this article and I agree with all of it. I do not know my grandaughter who is now 17 months old. I had a good relationship with my daughter and son in law until she was one month pregnant when we had a disagreement about money and she cut all ties with me. I have done all she asked, apologised and taken responsibility for everything and saw a psychiatrist at her request who concluded i had no mental health issues. She was, and still is very upset by what she believes is abusive and bullying behaviour from me. I do not believe i have been abusive but i did stand up to her, possibly for the first time ever. I have been to mediation, counselling and invited her to attend. She will not. I work in family law and i have advice from counsel that issuing proceedings would not be a good idea in the long term. I know my daughter,she is very unforgiving and cut all ties with her best friend because she accidentally stepped on her wedding dress. I dont want to give up on my grandaughter neither do i want to alienate my daughter further. I am happy to come and see you or talk on the telephone to get some advice. thank you.

    • A says:

      Hi Jenny,
      My heart goes out to you and I hope things resolve. I’m on the other side of the equation – as the daughter estranging the grandmother. I can only dream of my mother seeking a psychological evaluation, much less ever conceding that she did anything wrong genuinely. I WISH one monetary argument were our only problem, or some isolated issue 1 month of one of my pregnancies. My husband once made the comment about my mother “it’s like her only mission in life is to undermine your confidence in whatever choices you make” – from trying to hijack (and then postpone and control the invite list) to my wedding, telling me to tell my boss I was only going to take 6 weeks off of work because she would watch my son full time (and then changing her mind in the 3rd trimester – because, she can’t possibly quit her job she realized), subsequently guilt tripping me for staying home with him, even guilt tripping me about breastfeeding my 2nd to 2 years old – for fears even the supplemental breastmilk would “malnourish” him, criticizing our organic food choices as not sufficient….even the temperature of the house…”freezing” at 70 degrees. As a last straw she got my eldest son a “private phone” so she could communicate with him behind my back – without ever getting my permission! During the middle of a night terror she said he wasn’t my child, he was hers, and blamed me for it. It’s like her only purpose in life is to make mine wretched when she is around. I can only imagine having a trivial, forgiveable, one time issue. Everyone else in my family also thinks my mother is crazy. She refuses to go to a psychiatrist because “I never did anything wrong raising you!” and has never made a mistake. I don’t know what is wrong with your daughter in law, but, if I could tolerate years of abuse from my parents, I am not sure why others can make the estrangement decision off of some minor, one time infraction. I think some people don’t know how good they have it.

  21. Jamie says:

    I have babysat my grandson since his mom, my daughter went back to work 3 months after having him. I drove too their home 3 days a week to watch him plus other days just to see him. My daughter and I had a falling out last week. My grandsons dad told me he would never not let me see him. I told my daughter truths. I cleaned their house at times, made them meal at times and we are struggling with our relationship. I told her last Wed of she treated me like crap anymore…I was leaving. I wasn’t there ten minutes and sheer started in on me so I grabbed my things and left. I texted his dad today to see if I could come down and see him as my daughter is at work, its best right now that her and I not see each other. I feel very used by her and unappreciated. Now I’m not getting answers from him and I’m missing my grandson so bad Its making me sick. I feel they’re using him against me to hurt me because I told them I won’t be treated that way by my daughter therefore I am done babysitting, I just want to be his Grandma. He’s only 9 months old but we’re very close. I’m devastated. They’re using the no answer texts and not letting me see him and him as a pawn to hurt me. Well..it’s working. I miss him so much I cry every day. What can I do?

    • A says:

      That is so wrong, and unappreciative of her. My Mom told me to not plan any leave because she would take over watching my son so I could work – and then bailed on me in the third trimester (she is an uber feminist, and realized she cared more about her job). I have never had any reliable help. My mother in law came for 3 weeks once, but she let my eldest roam towards an empty pool with no fence, and even took pictures beside it. She also seemed to have creepy potty training sessions with him. So for all but those 3 weeks I have had no help with any of my children – I can’t even imagine what free help would be. I’m not complaining, because I love taking care of the kids and our family. But as a person who has had no support (when my Mom comes over, she just takes every opportunity to criticize and psychologically demean and undermine me – and has even caused a family rift by suing my father in law over a house project of hers) – I can only imagine what it must be like to turn away a genuinely caring grandmother. My own grandparents raised us while my parents worked – we were so close to them, but they were such gentle, clean, loving, selfless people. My mother, for better or worse, is a head strong uber feminist, who, by her own concession “can’t stand children” – EXCEPT my eldest son. He is her narcissistic extension. Though she has only done damage and never selflessly helped us once, she feels entitled to come over ever month and spend time with him, all while neglecting even the most basic rules (no shoes in the house, no feeding our kids random outside food, no trying to get them to want to go to kindergarten and hate being homeschooled by us). I have to add “no getting a private phone for my 4 year old” to the list – so she could keep in “constant contact” with him. Sometimes I have to take a step back and realize there are lots of great grandparents out there – just not my Mom. It sucks. I would love for my children to have real grandparents. My Mom frequently starves herself on her visits to us which leads to her behaving worse and worse in between meals. It’s like having an obnoxious teenager around rather than a grandmother. She also drinks – a lot, and goes into some kind of withdrawal I feel when she’s at our house and there is no alcohol. I pity her but, my life is miserable during and after each one of her visits. I’m considering permanently estranging her – or limiting things to 2 visits a year. Just think of a terrible mother, who then, instead of morphing and growing in maturity, just becomes a terrible grandmother. It’s wretched for everyone involved.

  22. keiyos says:

    I disagree dailynews.lk/2017/01/27/law-order/105928/fr-filed-against-cope-report-fixed-support

    Keitha

  23. BB says:

    All I would like to say, not being allowed to see one’s grandchildren, is worse than bereavement!!!

    • Kimmy says:

      I’m going through this , my first meeting at court is this Wednesday, I’m so nervous my daughter has made me feel like a criminal she started this situation. I can never forgive her for putting me through this to see my granddaughter, all because her son my grandson chose to live with his grandparents as his home situation with her was unacceptable so in return she stopped our granddaughter seeing us which has upset her beyond belief, I just hope the court sees my daughter for what she is . My granddaughter spent half her life with us so bad all round. Beware grandparents you never know what your adult children are capable of doing and the way they can lie , the courts should be aware how mothers can lie.

      • Jacky says:

        Kimmy you are right you never know what your adult kids are capable of ….how nasty and spiteful they can be and how badly they use their kids to to hurt you it is abuse in my eyes to us and most definitely to the children

        • Kimmy says:

          The thing is jacky it’s like no one believes you when you tell them that you have given them all you can ,you put your life on hold and drop everything to help with the grandchildren while their parents do what they want and enjoy themselves. When my children were little my mother was hard she never looked after her grandchildren in fact she couldn’t have craved less , where as my granddaughter spent half her life with us as her brother, all sour grapes with my daughter As her eldest could no longer live with her he now has emotional and anger problems and goes to a special school so I’m dealing with all this as well. My daughter said horrible things I will never forgive, no Mother’s Day card no Xmas card no birthday card that’s how far she has taken this I have to come to terms with this. All I hope is for the courts to at least see her but I don’t hold out any hope at least when my granddaughter is older she will know I’ve tried, the sad thing that upsets me is she keeps asking her brother when can she come to our house again and he can’t answer her , he sees her twice a a week which is down to me otherwise the mother wouldn’t bother ( once again me doing all the running around as before, the nasty thing my daughter and her boyfriend done was drive the child past our house and she told her brother she thought her mum would let her visit but they drove past nothing I can do. Why does it have to be like that with kids you gave birth to( unbelievable unless it happens to you) but I know a few who have had the same treatment,

  24. Sadsituation says:

    I don’t even know where to begin but here goes. I used to get on really well with my mil who I must add didn’t get on with her other daughter in law. At the time I didn’t take much notice as I was taken in by her charming ways. I found out I was pregnant the whole family seemed so excited. I unfortunately didn’t have contact with my own parents as I didn’t finish my degree due to health troubles (I had a stroke) and I felt embarrassed so I left and wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I think maybe I was looking for independance after my illness but my parents let me go, I lost contact with them, which tore them apart. They are very loving and laid back and the best grandparents to my 2 children. But at the time I didn’t have my family around me so my mother in law and father in law and extended family were very involved with the pregnancy. I didn’t mind but when the baby came along, wow our relationship changed. I breastfed my son, anytime they came round they stopped me from holding him said the reason he was crying wasn’t because he was hungry. But I knew my own son. My mother in law went up to her mums house and spoke badly of me which when they came to visit they couldn’t help but critise me with the same things she had said. The relationship was pretty bad but I just tried to suck it up and get on with it.
    I got back in contact with my dad before my son was born and he was fantastic he came to see me every couple of weeks as he lived 2 hours away. My mil didn’t seem to mind me having contact with my dad again. It was when I got in contact with my mum she was very spiteful to me. The jealousy she had for my mum was unbelievable. I must add I never asked my mil to babysit our child I was very hands on and my son adores me but she wanted to stop that. She demanded she wanted to take him out on his own which I wasn’t comfortable with ( I was still breastfeeding) but she bullied me. Anyway my second child came along shortly after there is only 14 months apart. She kept saying to me have them close together it’s honestly easier in the long run. No she just wanted my son when my daughter was born. And when my daughter showed me the same love she tried to stop me from holding her but I put my foot down second time round. She didn’t like it and it caused arguments. My mother in law, father in law nanny in law and grandfather in law ruined my daughter first birthday. My nanny in law insulted my sister, spoke rudily to my mum. My mother in laws sister glared at my mum and sister the whole time and made them feel uncomfortable. My mil couldn’t look at my mum in the eye as she knows she spoke badly to her family about my mum and has bullied me. My parents are divorced but still friends and even my dad said after the party how terribly myself my mum and sister had been treated. My husband has stuck by me through all of it. After the party I got into a row with my mother in law because I didn’t care she had bullied me for 2.5 years I was angry she upset my mum and sister who are the sweetest women I could ever ask to have in my life. My husband backed me 100%. She never apologised and boasts to her family she never apologises to anyone as she is always right.
    A year on from now the realationship is terrible,I still made the effort to go round so she didn’t miss out. I still let her in the school holidays take my son out for a day trip as he was coming up 3, then she asked to take my daughter who I wasn’t ready yet but she made the whole family turn against me saying I was stopping her if I didn’t let her. So I let her have her way but my partner said there were terms she needed to stick to. She could do anything go anywhere feed them whatever she liked, (my children eat healthily at home) but she musnt take them up to his grandparents as they had been so awful to my husband after there had been rows in the family. So she had them for the morning and took them straight up to her parents. My son told me as soon as he got out of the car she tried showering our children with gifts and act nice to me so I wouldn’t tell my husband. I told my husband obviously his my husband and my son over heard us talking in the evening, when nanny facetimed my son said ‘ “nanny your naughty you took me to grandad ***’s house” identity protected there) she blanked what he said and didn’t talk about it my husband was out of the room at the time fixing his brothers lights at his house and they were face timing on my brother in laws phone. We didn’t go up to see the in laws for a couple of weeks which is quite normal as even though they live down the road they don’t make the effort it’s up to us. Anyway this week we went round my mil was late coming back from work my sister law and father in law was there. She walked through the door didn’t speak and stood at the door my son Spotted her In The doorway and shouted “no your naughty nanny you took me to grandads and nannys house”
    I said Frankie you mustn’t say that it’s not for you to talk about. She flipped on my son snarled her teeth at him went off on him saying don’t you dare talk to me like that your a very naughty boy for saying it. I said whoa his not naughty for saying it. She went into to father in laws room where he was sat with my husband and started shouting, “his said it again” I went into the room ” I said we quite clearly need to talk about this. But don’t yell at my son. ” she said he shouldn’t say it” bearing in mind his 3. I said well clearly he has overheard me and Sam talking about it and she said you should talk to me if you have a problem with me going up there. I said we did you were asked twice. Once you sneekily took him up there and was told not to and second time you took both the children up there after you were told not to. She tried turning it on us when she had done wrong.
    She then had the cheek (after I managed to calm the situation down by talking to her while the kids were there as I don’t want shouting in front of my children) to turn to my children and say “next time nanny has you we will take you swimming” there is no next time you broke our trust twice.
    We now have my sister in law, brother in law (not his wife she is lovely) father in law against us saying we are stopping her from seeing her grandchildren:
    No she stopped herself she could of had it so lovely but she took them around a relatives house who we don’t want our children to be a part of.
    Please help advice would be most appreciated.

  25. L says:

    I dont think anyone can help us. I looked after my grandchildren from when my daughter went back to work from when they were 6 months old. My grandchildren are now 5 and 7 years old. I work full time but was able to take Tuesdays off to look after my grandchildren and help out my daughter an her husband with childcare. I also saw them at weekends and my husband collected them from school if I was at work. Despite the fact that my husband is disabled. My daughter was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2016. Myself and my husband stepped in to the breach and looked after them as often as we could and also looked after my daughter. She spent the occasional weekend with us because she was so ill she could not manage the children. Her husband did not appear to realise the seriousness of her illness and was far from caring or loving for that matter, There was occasions when she would be so tearful because of his behaviour. Once I asked my grandchild how mummy was as my son-in-law had dropped the children off because they both had an appointment at the hospital. He said mummy had been crying. I asked him why and he said because daddy had shouted at her. There were many instances like this and we saw first hand how he was treating her until I could not bear it any longer and I accused him of not looking after her properly. Well all hell broke loose he started shouting at me did he did not ask why I thought this he didn’t wait for me to explain why. He told the chIldren to get their shoes on and that they were going but he continued to shout at me and the children didn’t even bat an eyelid. My husband told him to stop shouting at me and to come tomorrow to have a chat. He did turn up the next day but was very menacing towards my husband and was obviously not in the mood to talk so my husband told him to go away. My daughter then became seriously ill and was hospitalised. They had to stop her chemotherapy. Her husband and i tried then to put things behind us shook hands and got on with things. We looked after the children frequently whilst my daughter was in hospital. They often slept over and I eventually had to go off work sick because of the situation. We even took the children on holiday for a week during the Easter holidays so that they could spend some time together on their own. By this time my daughter death was imminent. He rang me on the 13th April to say that she had taken a turn for the worse. I wanted to just go up and see her but my husband was poorly and I couldn’t leave the children in his care. So I waited until 19:30 put them in their pyjamas and told my husband to put a dvd on so that I could just go up and see her. I wanted to spend a few minutes alone with her but my son-in-law denied me this. I was so angry and upset but I couldn’t say anything in front of my daughter I know that hearing is the last thing to go. I said to my daughter that I would go home and put her children to bed and without opening her eyes she said ok mum I love you. I told her I loved her too and that was the last time she spoke to me. She died on the 14th April 2017. My son-in-law refused to let me have any input with the funeral. He told me about things by text after he had done the announcements and arranged the funeral. I offered on several occasions to have the children for him but he refused. Then he text me to tell me where I was to sit in the chapel. Which I thought was disgusting. I saw the children on three occasions for half an hour each time before the funeral. He wont take my calls he ignores my texts and I have’t seen the children since the 8th May at the wake. How cruel is he? It is like the children have lost their mummy and their grandparents and I have lost a daughter who was only 37 years old and lost my grandchildren. My husband has had another heart scare with all the stress. The children go to school in my village and it is breaking our heart knowing they are a few minutes away but we cannot see them for fear of him flying into a temper and then driving the children home putting them at risk. Even if we took the case to Court he would just up and move away if we were granted access and reading all your reviews I wonder if we would even get access. We have sleepless nights worrying about this. I have just gone back to work again as a distraction if nothing else because I am going crazy with frustration. I haven’t even begun to start grieving for my daughter yet with all this going on. HELP?

  26. Jen says:

    The article certainly feels as if it is about appeasement. my daughter who lived with me for 7 years from the birth of my eldest grandson, has now got a new partner and has decided that she wants me to sell my house and give them the money to buy a bigger place for them to live in leaving me with no money to buy a place of my own and forced to rent!
    I have refused and have been told that unless I capitulate I will not be seeing my grandson or his tiny 3 month old brother again.
    For 7 years my daughter has lived with me rent free, I have paid for all my grandsons nursery bills, holidays, food, and after school care. I have had him all weekend every weekend until new partner came on scene and I have taken him to and from his Infant school every day for the last 3 years I have paid off some of her debts and helped her by paying for furniture storage charges. I am also caring for her 2dogs now she has moved out! I might be a mug but I do not think I should be looking at blaming myself for refusing to give her every penny I have and leaving myself pennyless. I work full time and during her difficult latest pregnancy I had to get up every couple of hours every night to help her with her diabetes I have tried all I can to support her and keep her happy so I would not be cut off from seeing the grandchildren but I cannot give her my house! Quite apart from it being my home I have two other children and 3 other grandchildren so it would be grossly unfair to them. This article seems to start from the prospect of appeasing the child no matter what and apologising!

  27. Lisa says:

    I applied to court to have contact with my grandson. I have been taken to hell and back by my sons ex. I’ve had all issues regarding my son and his ex’s relationship thrown at me. 18 months in a court room she won’t compromise. Yet all I was given after thousands of pounds was non direct contact. My grandson does not even know I exist anymore. I’m destroyed inside. This girl has broken me totally I was so so close to my grandson until he was 18 months old when she took him and refuses me any contact. Yes the court said I can send letters and gifts to her parents for him but really. They will never read them to him an they will put everything in the bin these people can’t stand the sight of me. This was just the courts way of taking everything away but making it look good on paper. These parents should not be allowed to do this. It’s disgusting that the courts allow this to take place.

  28. Almost a grandma says:

    I have never met my 4 year old grandchild and didn’t know of their birth until a year ago. I mourn the loss of this little person (who is part of me) everyday of my life. I feel that I am a good person who could have made a positive impact on my grandchilds life, but sadly I will never get the chance to do so. I hope and pray that my grandchild has a long and happy life and that perhaps one day things may change, until then I simply hope to try to come to terms with this painful situation, as there is nothing more I can do.

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