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#1 of 103 Old 09-22-2007, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 103 Old 09-22-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 103 Old 09-22-2007, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#4 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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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.
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#5 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 03:27 AM
 
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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.

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#6 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 05:20 AM
 
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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
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#7 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 09:05 AM
 
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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.

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#8 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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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)

nothing more to say I guess :
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#9 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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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.

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#10 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 11:55 AM
 
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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?
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#11 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 12:11 PM
 
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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.

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#12 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 12:14 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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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.

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#15 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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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...

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#18 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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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.

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#19 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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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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#21 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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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.
I totally agree. Most of the litigating grandparents that I have been made aware of through my own personal battle have a tremendous sense of entitlement. They really believe that it is their "God given right to see these kids". They refuse to accept any responsiblity for their behavior, and are very quick to cast blame on the parents. It is all about control...very toxic behavior.
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#22 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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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.
So true! Even if the child's parents are being extremely difficult -- well, some people are like this, and some of them are parents. If there's a child in my family that I want to retain contact with -- I'm sure as heck going to do everything I can to have a good relationship with the parents, even if they happen to be difficult.

About the grandparents who aren't allowed to see their grandkids because they initially disapproved of their daughter's choice of a husband -- have they made any effort to talk with him and befriend him since that time? If they have, and he's just a totally unforgiving jerk -- well, that's too bad and I realize some people have a hard time forgiving.

I just think most grandparents can find a way to make amends and get along with their children (or children-in-law) if they're willing.

But it's also possible that what the pp said is true: maybe he fears that they're the type to criticize him to his children. I know in my own case, my mom is very critical of me, and for that and other reasons we don't send our kids on their own for visits. Mom would like to have some one-on-one time with our oldest -- but she still only gets to see our children with dh or me being there.

Sometimes I wonder if she'd have legal grounds to demand visitation with just our children, without us being there. I hope not. We usually spend a few hours with her, about twice a month, and I'm just hoping this keeps her satisfied.

I feel sad that Mom refuses to be a trustworthy person; when our oldest was 4, she'd started spending some one-on-one time with my mom but was coming back asking dh and me, "Will I ever get to go to public school?"

Mom, knowing our homeschooling plans, had been initiating talks with dd about all the fun she'd be missing if we didn't let her go to kindergarten.: She agreed to quit doing it when confronted by me, but then did it again the next chance she got (and admitted to doing it, without remorse -- and tried to start a debate with me about my competency).

I honestly think most grandparents can find a way to work things out with their children. I actually think the problem is most lack respect for their children, and have a hard time eating humble pie. Mom would rather give gifts than just say, "I'm sorry, I really over-stepped my bounds and it won't happen again."

If she could actually express remorse and demonstrate understanding of how her manipulations are harmful to my children and our family, dh and I would start feeling we were on the road to building a trusting relationship. I'd love for a full restoration to happen with my mom, but it can't all just happen on one side, ya know?

And while I fully realize a few people are jerks who would withhold their children just to cause everyone pain -- I think in the vast majority of cases where parents break off relationships (even with ex-in-laws), it's because of their concern that the grandparents will do things to emotionally harm the children, or possibly harm the relationship between parents and children.

Most parents aren't eager to break off relationships that are beneficial to themselves and their kids. Most parents really don't want to go it alone.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#23 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 05:51 PM
 
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I am so thankful that my state has no grandparent's right's laws. Personally, I think that any grandparent's right's laws should not exist. It is, and always should be, up to the parents to decide which family members they want their child to see. For me, it's black and white-except when the children are to be put in foster care, in that case, they should always look to see if their are any suitable family members to care for the children.

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#24 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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I don't think there is a clearcut black and white area on this.

What about if, in a divorced family, something happens to, say, the Father so that he's not around. (I don't meant jail or anything like that, I mean dead.) What about if, with the Father gone, the Mother decides that she doesn't want her child to have anything to do with the Father's side of the family, not because of abuse or anything, just because she doesn't want the child to have contact with that side of tha family? What if, the child has seen this Grandparent almost every time the Father had visitation, so that the child and Grandparent have a close relationship? Do you still think it would be fair to refuse to let the child and Grandparent continue to have contact, continue to see eachother? Because that is exactly what would happen if my Hubby were to die- she would lose all contact with her Father's side of the family not because anyone is abusive or anything, but simply because her Mother wants to forget she ever married my Husband.

And on the other side, what if a Father was abusive to the child's Mother and actually attempted to strangle her in front of the child? What if the Father ended up getting supervised visitation and losing supervised visitation two or three times because of abusing the child? What if the Father had his Mother file for Grandparents righs, which she got, and then, she's invite the Father over to her house during visitation time until they were brought back to court and lost the Grandparents Right's visitation, because the child was being abused again? That was what happened to my niece.

There is no easy answer for Grandparent's Rights. It could be a win-win or a lose-lose situation either way.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#25 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 06:09 PM
 
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What if, the child has seen this Grandparent almost every time the Father had visitation, so that the child and Grandparent have a close relationship? Do you still think it would be fair to refuse to let the child and Grandparent continue to have contact, continue to see eachother? Because that is exactly what would happen if my Hubby were to die- she would lose all contact with her Father's side of the family not because anyone is abusive or anything, but simply because her Mother wants to forget she ever married my Husband.
You're saying that your child has a good relationship with her paternal grandparents, and they're good people who don't criticize you to your dd or do things to undermine your relationship with your dd -- but you'd cut off all contact because of your desire to forget the marriage?:

I can't fathom this. To me, my children are living, breathing evidence of my marriage to dh. He'll always be a part of me. I can't imagine hurting my kids, or my in-laws, in such a self-centered fashion, in some misguided effort to purge my beloved husband from my memory. Who thinks like this?

You're really saying these kind and wonderful people would have to take you to court to see their grandchild?

I'm hoping I misunderstood you.

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#26 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angelpie545 View Post
I am so thankful that my state has no grandparent's right's laws. Personally, I think that any grandparent's right's laws should not exist. It is, and always should be, up to the parents to decide which family members they want their child to see. For me, it's black and white-except when the children are to be put in foster care, in that case, they should always look to see if their are any suitable family members to care for the children.
What state are you in? Every state has GPV laws, I would research what they are for your state. The only really safe state to live in is Florida, all others you could fall victim. A good place to begin research on the laws is www.parentsrights.org.
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#27 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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I actually have always had the paranoia/ worry that, once I am a grandparent, I will lose access to my grandchildren after a contentious divorce. I guess the likelihood of losing all contact is pretty slim. But the thought of it is crushing.

But I guess if it happens, it is in fate's hands. I would never sue unless I were convinced the children were being abused or neglected.

My parents have a history of extreme toxicity (they have tried very had to change though, and they are somewhat better now) but I can totally understand wanting to sever contact with grandparents if they are toxic.

I think it's becoming increasingly rare for 100% sole legal custody to be granted these days-- usually it happens only if one parent is abusive/ negligent/ uses drugs etc.. So I think the total loss of grandchildren due to a child's divorce will be a rarer and rarer thing once we are old grannies.
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#28 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 06:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
There is no easy answer for Grandparent's Rights. It could be a win-win or a lose-lose situation either way.
IMHO GPV is ALWAYS a lose lose situation. Even if the GP's win visitation it will be forced by the state and not with the wishes of the parents. The court can not order a relationship, for GP's winning visitation it is a very hollow victory. It is a very sad situation that really has no business in family court. The problems should be addressed with a therapist/counselor...we tried this approach and it was a failure. My DH and I wanted to be in control of the visits, the who, what, where, why and when (as it should be since we are the parents of these children)...they would not allow this thus we ended up back in court.
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#29 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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You're saying that your child has a good relationship with her paternal grandparents, and they're good people who don't criticize you to your dd or do things to undermine your relationship with your dd -- but you'd cut off all contact because of your desire to forget the marriage?:

I'm hoping I misunderstood you.
Yes, you did, completely. She's talking about her stepdaughter, the one mentioned in her sig.
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#30 of 103 Old 09-23-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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Ps, I wanted to add that, I was pretty much raised by my grandmother. My family growing up was intact but both of my parents were workaholics so they shipped my grandma into the country to function as an unpaid nanny. Lucky for me, though-- she was my only real emotional connection in childhood and once she died I felt like an orphan. She humanized me and taught me to love.

I think grandparents CAN be invaluable to children, but there are so many toxic people out there... but the bond between grandchild and grandparent can be magical. Even my mom, who was so horribly toxic when I was young, has a magical bond with my son. It's the only time in my life I've seen her show and feel genuine love.

So... I guess what I'm trying to say is that the rights/ access should be severed only in cases of emotional or physical abuse. Not just "they rub me the wrong way" or something.

I have also read heartbreaking stories of grandparents losing access to their grandkids after 9-11. Most of the stories I have read did not involve abusive grandparents. Usually there had been bad blood between the deceased child and the ex/current spouse at the time of the death, and the widow/ widower just wanted to cut all ties.
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