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Grandparents Rights

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
I would like to hear from both sides of this issue. I cannot understand how or why a grandparent would be able to sue for visitation or custody. A child has two parents, and I don't think anyone else has an innate right to that child. I'm not talking about a situation where a parent is abusive, is taken away, and a grandparent gets preference or whatever. When a child needs a home, a member of the child's family is considered ideal when it comes to custody.

In the situations I've heard about, there is usually a single parent and the child's other parents' parent sues for some kind of custody or visitation.

Discuss.
post #2 of 103
Hello,
My DH and I finally won our case for grandparent visitation (gpv) on Wed. of this past week. It was a 2 year battle and cost us over 100k.

We are married, have been for 12 years. We have 3 children and after a lifetime of control, physical and emotional abuse for me and it all spilling over into my married life my husband and I decided to sever ties with my parents. They decided to sue us for visitation of our children. It has been a hellish nightmare. We were in and out of court about 11 times, we were subjected to mediation, evaulations, and court ordered visits with them...but thankfully it is all over now and they can never bother us again.

Many of the cases out there do involve a divorce situation or a situation in which one of the parents has died. In our case we are an "intact" family united in our decision to deny any further contact with these toxic people and our decision was still not respected by the court...it took a very costly and emtional battle to win our right to make parenting decisions.

I think these laws need to be seriously looked at and rewritten to better protect parents and their children from these types of lawsuits. More parents need to be educated on this topic. I have found so many people in disbelief when I share our story with them....but it can, and does happen.
post #3 of 103
Thread Starter 
That's just unbelievable to me. I'm so sorry for what your family went through. I'm trying to find some kind of reason in these cases, and I haven't seen a single one where I thought there was any merit at all. It seems to me like it's just a knock at parents' rights to raise their children in the way they best see fit.
post #4 of 103
When I was a baby my father left my mom. He was granted only one day a week supervised visitation - he was abusive. So he had his parents file for visitation with me - my mom knew what he was doing and they had to have supervised visitation two and if he showed up there while I was there - all of them lost visitation with me. It was horrible.

It's actually something I'm a bit afraid of because we don't have much contact with my IL's and I always tell them no to seeing my son - long story on why.
post #5 of 103
My mother threatened to sue us for grandparents' rights. Fortunately, in this state, the law protects intact families.

And, at times when I think about divorcing dh, I think that M would then have a leg to stand on in court, and it always makes me want to work through whatever problem dh and I are experiencing.
post #6 of 103
Wow! I can't imagine how much it would suck if my MIL demanded grandparent rights!!

I am sorry you guys went/are going through this
post #7 of 103
My mom and step-dad filed against DH and I for our DD. We fought and fought and fought in court. We finally got her back and my mother has not seen my daughter aside from the occasional picture that I send to MY grandmother. We were subjected to parenting classes, social worker in home visits, supervised visitation, etc. It was horrible. I too try very hard to work through any problem DH and I might have for the legitimate fear that my mother would try again if she ever heard of us splitting. I never told my family I was pregnant with Lasius for fear that my mom would try and take him. I didn't even tell my mom until 2 weeks after Lasius died that I had him. I was so terrified she would view that as her opportunity to try and take DD-- when we were at our weakest emotionally.
post #8 of 103
I don't get the whole grandparents rights thing, why should they have more rights, than say, an uncle or aunt? After all you share more genetic material with a sibling than with either parent, and your siblings often have as much a part of forming who you are as your parents do.
(not that I am advocating for aunt and uncle rights, just wondering where one would draw the line)
post #9 of 103
I definitely think grandparents should have the right to sue for visitation unless they are known to be abusive or some such thing. I think it's very important for kids to have grandparents. They offer so much. I don't think that we respect the elderly and their experience enough in this country. Youth is king.

Even if the parents have issues with their parents, I don't necessarily think that should mean that the kids lose out on their grandparents. Grandparents are another source of unconditional love. Kids shouldn't be denied that.

I know of a family where the husband does not like his wife's parents because they objected to his marrying her 15+ years ago. Because of this, he has not let her parents see their kids. The wife would like to, but the husband says no. She's not strong enough to stand up to him on this point. I think that's wrong.
post #10 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
I definitely think grandparents should have the right to sue for visitation unless they are known to be abusive or some such thing.
Do you have any idea how hard it would be to prove that someone abused you 20 years ago?
post #11 of 103
These stories are awful, and this subject is often in my mind because of my IL's. I wouldn't put it past them to file.

Yes, there are grandparents who should see their grandchildren, they would be a positive influence in their lives, but there are many who would not. As parents it is our job to protect our children, and that is what I am doing, it is not the courts job to tell them that just because someone doesn't have a record doesn't mean that they are a positive influence on my child.
post #12 of 103
Umsami I can see what you are saying. And I can thankfully say that my children have this in my dad. he is that kind of unconditional love grandpa that every child should be so lucky to have. My MIL is as well. Although MIL is a little "stricter" than I would prefer her to be with the kids, not so much that I interfere though.

But because they are loving, caring grandparents that I can clearly see are a benefit to my children to have in their lives, there is never a chance I would deny contact. Prime in our relationship with the grandparents is that they respect my DP and I as parents. If grandma is baby sitting, she may say she doesn't agree that our 3.5 year old sleeps with us. But she will shrug and say "Well you are his parents, so you can deal with it later." and she will lay down with him in our bed and read him stories until he falls asleep. Like we want her to do.

My fear when it comes to a courts involvement with taking away a parents choice and giving authority over to non-parents is that the courts are setting the stage. They are beginning a forced relationship in which they have already clearly said that they parents choices do not matter, and that alone is very damaging. Add to that another person whom cannot be meeting the parents ideals, or they would be involved already and you have a recipe for disaster.
post #13 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
Even if the parents have issues with their parents, I don't necessarily think that should mean that the kids lose out on their grandparents. Grandparents are another source of unconditional love. Kids shouldn't be denied that.
: : It is glad that you have that but you haven't met my mother. My mil offers the unconditional love. My mother and father both get suppervised visits only.

My mother wanted to take only 2 kids to Disney World. This meant leaving a 5 year old behind. My mother said she wouldn't know or remember it wouldn't effect her one bit. My mother refuses to sleep with her grandkids. She would make them a mat on the floor but lets her dogs sleep with her. My mom doesn't think if she has them for a week or two she should allow them to call home or us call them (can't deal with them being upset). My mother cannot shut up about how we are messing them up by homeschooling them. I don't trust her not to quiz and critize them for not knowing something. My mother cannot get off the Ti should know she can have plastic surgery to fix her ears bulls shit (My dd has a birth defect). I cannot get it through her think skull Ti is ok with her body. When she is old enough she can decide to alter her body by herself. She isn't dumb, she loves medical shows, she knows about plastic surgery, she just doesn't KNOW her ears NEED to be fixed and I am not about to have my mom teach her that. There is a lot of conditions to her love.

My dad does give more of the unconditional love but at the same time he does stupid stuff like allow 6 year olds to hold roman candles and get burns.

Some times the abuse isn't physical but emotional something hard to prove. Many older people laugh at this story. I was allowing my mom unsupervised visits with my son. I was pregnant with my second child. I cannot remember what or why I had to be out late but I couldn't pick up my son until 10 pm. She had to be up early so he couldn't stay the night (and I was leary because he would have had to sleep on the floor, plus we had never been appart for overnight). When I came and picked him up he was sitting on a step ladder (simular to this http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/2-in...-ladder-chair). He had a bucket between his legs. I can't remember why my son was sent there but he got the bucket because his tired, up way past bedtime, three year old self couldn't stop crying. They handed him a bucket and told him to cry a buck. My mom and her husband laughed at him he obediantly sat there for over half an hour crying a bucket. You don't know how many people think that story is just a laugh. My son was emotionally hurt by that. He at 13 only wants to visit an hour or two. He remembers feeling alone. His willingness to go over there was imidately changed. I cannot prove nothing else happen that night there were no marks on my son except tear stains on his face but the servere behavior change and complete resistance from him to visit after that night will always make me wonder. He gets very protective of his sisters and cousins around them. There have been other people that have notice when he is around my mom he seems on gaurd.

I think the other cases of parents being selfish are few and far. There is more to the story than you understand. That man could very well not trust those parents not to belittle him in front of his children. May this story remind us about respecting our children's decissions, dates, and choosen partners. In that case it sounds like because he wasn't respected he isn't giving any and you don't know if they haven't ever given any. Many adult children will ignore repeated disrespect from their parents to their mate.
post #14 of 103
I don't think anbody has any rights to another person's child. While that may heartbreaking for some people, I don't see how we could establish a legal precident on any other principle.

My cousin has a daughter one week younger than my DD. Her mom, Aunt T, kissed her DGD with an old cold sore on her mouth. The whole thing spiraled out of control, and now my cousin doesn't let her mom see the baby, and they haven't spoken in months. It's sad. Aunt T is considering going to court, but I think that's the wrong thing to do. If she wants a relationship with her DGD, it's silly to think that she can do that without mending fences with her DD.
post #15 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra View Post
That's just unbelievable to me. I'm so sorry for what your family went through. I'm trying to find some kind of reason in these cases, and I haven't seen a single one where I thought there was any merit at all. It seems to me like it's just a knock at parents' rights to raise their children in the way they best see fit.
It is a total knock on parent's rights. It is all supposed to be about the "best interest of the child". I have a very difficult time in seeing any of this being about the best interest. It is all about controlling ruthless grandparents.
post #16 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
I definitely think grandparents should have the right to sue for visitation unless they are known to be abusive or some such thing. I think it's very important for kids to have grandparents. They offer so much. I don't think that we respect the elderly and their experience enough in this country. Youth is king.

Even if the parents have issues with their parents, I don't necessarily think that should mean that the kids lose out on their grandparents. Grandparents are another source of unconditional love. Kids shouldn't be denied that.

I know of a family where the husband does not like his wife's parents because they objected to his marrying her 15+ years ago. Because of this, he has not let her parents see their kids. The wife would like to, but the husband says no. She's not strong enough to stand up to him on this point. I think that's wrong.
My parents were abusive towards me as a child and teen in their home. When it came to discussing this in court my testimony was banned. It is impossible to prove this in a court of law.

I respect the elderly and my children are very involved with my husbands parents. This has nothing to do with respect of the elderly, it has to do with protecting a parents Constitutional and fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit.

Until you have lived with the constant threat of someone making decisions about where your children spend their time this matter is really difficult to understand. I can understand how you would be sympathetic towards the grandparents, buth they are not all the sweet cooking baking gp's that you want to believe them to be, and it costs a family so much in emotional and financial damages to finally prove otherwise.
post #17 of 103
The *only* way I agree with Grandparents rights are in the case where the children were going to be taken away to foster care or something. I consider that to be a better alternative to strangers (if it is a healthy household for the children).

Other than that, absolutely no way. I had one of my ex's threaten this on me when I was pg as a teen. That I would be unfit b/c of age, and they had a leg to stand on here in IL as far as GP rights go, I believe, at least then. Not that I was unfit, but that they are willing to hand them over to GPs for just about any reason.

Nobody but the parents should have "rights" to a child. I can only imagine if my own mother wanted any sort of visitation/custody...
post #18 of 103
i dont think grandparent should have the ability to sue for visitation or custody, or "rights"
UNLESS.....
like a pp mentioned, if kids were in foster care, and parents werent allowed contacnt, and it would be in the child's best interst to stay with family instead of strangers.
OR
if both parents were deceased, and there was no will to determine where the children would go.

I see SO many problems in families due to "generational conflict" grandparents thinking, "this is how i raised my kids, so you should do it too" or "advice" that turns into "you're a bad parent if you dont do this"
i've seen it turn ugly and violent and tear families apart.

the grandparents had their shot at raising kids, and they are done now, they have to let their kids do the raising now whether they like it or not.
post #19 of 103
The only time I would think about any type of rights would be in pretty extreme situations, but I don't think it has to be labled "grandparent's rights" because I think it could apply to any caring adult. I have a friend who went through a messy divorce when she was 10 (well her parents divorced, not her ). Dad was totally out of the picture (but paid his child support), but the father's parents (who had been her caregivers after school for years while mom worked) were always wonderful, loving grandparents. Mom decided to deny grandparents the right to see their DGD and my friend suffered for it. (the father wasn't even in the same state at the time, so it wasn't an issue of the father being in w/ the grandparents). Anyway in an extreme case like that I would support the grandparents rights to their DGC. I would hate to think that if G/d forbid something ever happened to me my dh or his family could deny my kids *my* family without cause.
post #20 of 103
My own two cents is that some grandparents confuse rights with privileges. It is a privilege for both the child and the grandparent to have a functional relationship with each other. I don't believe that grandparents should have the right to force a relationship.
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