The in-laws are getting an attorney and taking us to court for visitation! My in-laws haven't been allowed to see our kids in over a year and have now decided that they are going to try to sue for grandparent's visitation rights. It's ridiculous. I'm not concerned about it since it's impossible for it to happen but it's just crazy. I can't believe they are that dumb. Just for some background my in-laws are alcoholics. MIL has been to rehab numerous times and even spent 3 yrs of Dh's life in jail for DUI (his brother had custody by the time he was 18). Her new husband (only together the last 8 years, just one year before me & dh) is an alcoholic and was even accused of molesting one of his daughter's although the family claims she's crazy and making it up I'm inclined to believe her and won't take the chance regardless. He also beats MIL. We've offered to help her leave before when she confessed to the abuse and she wouldn't so we quit contacting her. I've never allowed them to be alone with the kids but we did try to involve them to begin with. They never came to birthday parties, sent cards or bought gifts for holidays, or anything else when they were involved though. Never even hung up a single photo of the kids that we use to give them. Now they want visitation?! Okay! Sure that's gonna happen!
Are they serious?
I have family like this, and I try to just live far enough away from the swirling vortex of dysfunction, so we don't get sucked in! (Like at least 3 states buffer is pretty good IME)
Don't worry-- just document all the crazy crap, like journal about when she admitted being beaten, get copies of court records of the step-FIL's molestation case, and the DUI, rehab-- have it all w you in court, and you'll come out just fine.
Praying for your family for peace.
Good news: it sounds like you have TONS of reasonable reasons to justify refusing them their 'rights.' There's little danger they'll come anywhere close to receiving their demands. Most places still won't even waste time on something like grandparents' visitation rights when there are so many legitimate domestic cases that need attention.
Bad news: you still have to be related to them, lol.
I'm sorry. I have been through that, many years ago now. It ended up that they had no standing to sue, and we moved far faaaarrrrrrr away.
It never ceases to amaze me that people think they have the 'right' to invade someone's life like that.
It's obvious that if the grandparent were *any* kind of a parent in the first place, they would have a decent relationship with their own adult child, and would not need to sue to be involved.
It's probably just an empty threat to attempt to gain control and make you 'cower' anyway.
Just stay strong and keep doing what's best for your kids.
Oh goodness. (((hugs)))
I'm guessing it is an empty threat to manipulate you into letting them see them. Saying they are going to "get a lawyer" is a heck of a lot different from actually being sued and served with court documents. Lots of people think they want to / can sue. Very few follow through. And in most states "grandparent rights" are not very well defined and very hard to prove/win. We looked into it a couple of years ago when my inlaws started grumbling about "grandparent rights" and my husband is an attorney so he did investigate it quite a bit.
For now, I'd try not to worry about it but do start thinking about getting together all the documentation you have. Even your own notes on when they saw the kids, when they refused, etc. Personal journals/recording of things can be helpful.
I don't think you should give this a second thought unless you're served with papers. I doubt that day will ever come.
When someone says "I'm going to get a lawyer," in this kind of context, I hear "I don't have a lawyer." And for this? I very much doubt that they can find one able to do what they say they want. I sort of doubt that they even really want it. I think they just want you running scared.
You might want to look into the state laws where you are. (And case law to see if the state law has been overturned.)
I mean, if you are totally not worried about it, that's awesome.
But it also might help- just to know that they can't even sue you in the first place, yk?
Just for instance, in many states now, they can't sue an 'intact' family. So based on the laws, you would *know* if they were just being mean and threatening, or (God-forbid) if there is even a chance you could actually end up in court forced to defend your family against them.
Most states don't allow it. In the very few areas where it used to be allowed (but do not think it is allowed anymore due to a Supreme court ruling) it was in cases where the grandparents had had custody or a serious established relationship.
Over a threat like this, I would completely cut off contact. I would also remind myself that a visitation battle is going to cost them over ten thousand dollars and you will counter sue for all your costs too. And from there, they won't win. You need to cut off all contact now so that they cannot go to a judge and say "look, we used to see them all the time, they need to see us." No established relationship...the lawsuit won't go through.
I am in Texas, they would never get it here. My MIL threatened it, but could not get it. Not with us and not with SIL. SIL was in prison at the time too, LOL, and MIL could not even get a court order then!