Has anyone been through a Grandparent Visitation rights case?

BestMomma - posted on 11/03/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I will start out by saying that I would never take any set of good grandparents away from my child, she deserves the best and both sets of grandparents are "good".
With that being said, my ex in laws are suing me for visitation rights. I have never denied them visits - almost always have said yes or negotiated on a better time. Her biological father is in and out of her life so lets not assume they will see her on his time - because that is unrealistic. Now he is in army. All I have ever asked is that they submit the dates they would like to see her, and I would reply to what dates work for my family. They wanted a montly schedule and because I did not want to agree to an actual schedule, they started a litigation against me a year ago. It has take this long and we are finally going to trial. After thousands of dollars and horrible stress, we await trial. I am terrified about the thought of losing my parental rights...I am a very fit parent. I have remarried and her step dad is the only dad she knows - and calls him dad - she does not remember a life without him. We have a very stable loving home. My question is has anyone ever gone through a trial and if so, what help or advice can you give me?

Thank you!

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BestMomma - posted on 12/19/2012

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Below is a letter that I wrote last year to my Senator - get involved and reach out for support from as many people as you can! Dean Heller wrote me back twice. Those types of support only help during your court case.


Dear Honorable Dean Heller,


I am writing to you today to hopefully gain support in some challenges I have been facing with regard to Parental Rights. I am asking you to write me back with your support in the endeavor that I am unfortunately facing. Let me give you a brief summary about why I am requesting this letter from you:

Let me start out by saying first that my parents are wonderful grandparents. They watch my children while I work every day and assist whenever I need help. My current in-laws have impacted our lives in such a positive way, loving the children and supporting them emotionally and by sending coats and clothes, a lot of the time at every single holiday. Even my ex in-laws, who currently have a litigation against me, love their granddaughter. My petition for Parental Rights is not against grandparents being apart of their grandchildren’s lives. My petition for Parental Rights is to protect my right as a parent to make decisions regarding my children as I see fit. It is to hold the decision making power of when and where visits happen.

My relationship with my former in-laws started to deteriorate last year when I attempted to determine the whereabouts of my ex-husband because he was not paying child support. My former in-laws advised me that they were estranged from my ex husband and that me asking them for help only hurt them. A month later, my ex-husband was living with his parents and they were supporting him. I felt betrayed by this action. I felt that they were putting a grown man above the best interests of their granddaughter. During their estrangement from their son, I was entirely supportive of them being a part of my daughter’s life and—within reason—I still support that belief today.

I started receiving requests and demands from my former in-laws for visits and a schedule. I would reply that they could request dates a few months in advance and that I would respond to which dates worked for my family to have my daughter come for visits. They were dissatisfied with this response and I began receiving letters demanding responses with deadlines. They requested mediation to determine a set monthly schedule. The tone and demands within the letters continued to escalate.

My divorce lawyer started to receive letters from another attorney. My former in-laws notified my attorney that they were starting litigation against me to have grandparent rights. Their son has supervised visits every other weekend with my daughter and my former inlaws are the supervisors.

When my ex-husband decided to join the army, his family apparently became concerned that he would not be utilizing his visits while he was away. I have never had any intention of isolating my daughter from her paternal grandparents and the aggressiveness of their behavior and unreasonable demands has been quite startling and somewhat puzzling. As the custodial parent of my daughter I am entitled to first right of refusal. Stress and fear has started to overwhelm my life. Financially, this has become a huge burden on my family. My ex-husband has provided very little to no financial support and his parents are now exacerbating the situation even further by this unnecessary lawsuit that, ultimately, will diminish the resources I have available to support my daughter. The financial impact of these proceedings are the impacts to my daughters social and non-school related activities. The activities that we are having to make financial decisions around include gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, skiing, etc. These legal actions have forced my family to balance the cost of keeping our family in tact & unencumbered against the social and healthy development of both my children. I am more than happy to collaborate on visits but I feel that, as primary custodian, I should be entitled to reasonable flexibility rather than having to adhere to rigid scheduling.

This unreasonable litigation has caused tension between my former in-laws and my family and it is clearly discernible by my daughter. After visits my daughter has started to show signs of stressed behavior, such as wetting her pants. She is very clingy for days, making sure her stepfather and I do not leave her. My ex in-laws appear to be impervious to the affect this is having on my daughter and remain persistent and unreasonable in their demands. Ironically, these same people see their granddaughter more now than when I was married to their son and yet they continue to demand even more. This is a dramatically different level of involvement from when I reached out to my ex in-laws for help when their son deserted me with a young child. At that time, their reaction was to turn the other way and tell me they did not want to get involved. These same grandparents who are so anxious to have scheduled visitation have never bought my daughter clothes, lived with her, or have her over for a sleepovers. Furthermore, they have not called, written, sent cards for holidays or any contact with my daughter outside of the visits she has had with her biological father. For them to insist on custody is as ludicrous as it would be for me to ask them for child support.

The situation has become increasingly abrasive and I have had my appropriateness as a mother questioned. I was completely startled by the allegations that these people made about me during this litigation. The situation would be laughable if it were not so tragic. Their son abandoned me with a young child, left me financially destitute, relinquished all parenting responsibility, and his parents are now accusing me of inadequate parenting. They are immune to the emotional and financial hardships they have created. Instead, they continue to posture as though they are victims. I pray that God takes the burden of anger from me in order to help me forgive them for what they have done to me and my family.

I have no idea what the motivation is behind this behavior. My ex in-laws have gone from apathy to hostile, demanding aggression. Again, it is important to note that I totally support my child having a relationship with her paternal family. I cannot, however, support the court taking away my rights as a parent. If they were to do so, they would be regulating my child’s time with me and her family. I work full time and these are my precious moments to raise my child. I will not get these moments in her life back.

I am a good mother and I urge you to support legislation that will allow me to continue to parent my child as I think will most benefit her. Although I support and encourage my daughter’s relationship with her grandparents, I do not think their rights as grandparents should supersede my own.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you,

User - posted on 12/24/2014

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My parents won visitation rights and I'm a FIT PARENT! BEEN THREW HELL FOR FOUR YEARS!!!

Karen - posted on 12/25/2012

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Constitutionally speaking, no grandparent has a "right" to see a grandchild, while any fit custodial parent has a constitutionally protected right to decide how to raise his/her child -- including with whom the child will associate, let alone who will care for and supervise the child. As a matter of binding constitutional law, any trial court considering a grandparent visitation petition must start out by presuming that the parent's decision to limit or deny visitation was in the child's best interest. States differ as to what a petitioning grandparent must show to override that presumption.

Mom2twinskc - posted on 02/07/2016

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Hi. My ex-mother-in-law took me to court 3 years ago in an attempt to get visitation of my twin sons. Much like your situation, she wanted to fill in for visitation where her son would not. To make a long story short not only was she denied grandparent visitation, she also had to pay our legal fees on top of that. I, too, will petition my representatives at the state and federal level to support legislation that will allow our desires as parents to supersede that of the grandparents.

Used - posted on 03/12/2013

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quit being controlling let the grandparents see the children. we love our grandchildren and we should not have to submitted to abuse by persons that do not want us to see them. even though they say they want us to have a relationship they make all these rules so it's not possible; just ask daughter who got out of prison married a former drugie and his controlling mother now i can't see my grandchildren. thanks to az who should of never made the decsion since we live in greely not in his authorization after six months.

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Kristiaehart - posted on 10/25/2017

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May I ask if you have gone to court or how the outcome was for this? I was served last week by my former MIL for grandparents rights and custody. My ex husband passed away 3 years ago and up until the first part of this year she had free reign over my oldest middle (9) that was conceived in my first marriage. In January she started to completely defy our rules (my husband has since adopted our son) and she has blatant disrespect for anything we say. This came to a head back in September when we saw his entire behavior change in front of her and how she reacted to said behavior. When I confronted her one on one she basically shut me down and didn't want to discuss anything I had to say (which is not uncommon) I live in CA which is a permissive state when it comes to grandparents. I am working with a professional for my document preparation but plan to represent myself. I am not afraid of her or her accusations but am definitely afraid of being in front of a judge and disrespecting his time.

Regan - posted on 09/21/2017

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I am a mother of three children ages 8, 9 and 12. I'm in Kansas. I am currently being sued by my mother for visitation with my children. I want to do what's right by my children and am looking for support.
My mother is legally blind, still drives but has frequent MVA's and falls frequently because she can't see. She is on blood thinners for heart problems. She is diagnosed BPD and hypochondriac. She takes narcotics daily and smokes marijuana for chronic back pain. She has frequent episodes of syncope for unknown reasons and has even passed out behind the wheel on more than one occasion. These are just a few of the proveable problems in this scenario.
I've allowed her to have a relationship with my children since the day they were born. Occasional overnights with almost always another adult present. I knew one day the kids would not want a relationship with her because of her mental health problems. It was a very difficult decision to allow her to know them in the first place but I didn't want them resenting me for not allowing them to know her. Its now come to the point where they don't want to spend time with her. I've never kept her from them. She's always been invited to all of their extracurricular activities which they do year round. For the past 5 years She has chosen to see them a maximum of maybe a dozen times. All of a sudden she is demanding overnights Fri thru Sun every other weekend. The kids don't want to.
Mediation didn't work and the Judge on the case has told my lawyer "off the record" that he's going to grant her a minimum of 3 overnights a month.
When I hired my lawyer he said it would be extremely unlikely for her to be granted anything as both myself and my kids dad (we are divorced) agree on this matter. I am feeling hopeless and helpless. Do you have any advice for me, please?
Sincerely, Regan

Regan - posted on 09/21/2017

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I am also being sued by my mother. Any advice you can give having gone through this hell? Thank you.

Regan - posted on 09/21/2017

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I am a mother of three children ages 8, 9 and 12. I'm in Kansas. I am currently being sued by my mother for visitation with my children. I want to do what's right by my children and am looking for support.
My mother is legally blind, still drives but has frequent MVA's and falls frequently because she can't see. She is on blood thinners for heart problems. She is diagnosed BPD and hypochondriac. She takes narcotics daily and smokes marijuana for chronic back pain. She has frequent episodes of syncope for unknown reasons and has even passed out behind the wheel on more than one occasion. These are just a few of the proveable problems in this scenario.
I've allowed her to have a relationship with my children since the day they were born. Occasional overnights with almost always another adult present. I knew one day the kids would not want a relationship with her because of her mental health problems. It was a very difficult decision to allow her to know them in the first place but I didn't want them resenting me for not allowing them to know her. Its now come to the point where they don't want to spend time with her. I've never kept her from them. She's always been invited to all of their extracurricular activities which they do year round. For the past 5 years She has chosen to see them a maximum of maybe a dozen times. All of a sudden she is demanding overnights Fri thru Sun every other weekend. The kids don't want to.
Mediation didn't work and the Judge on the case has told my lawyer "off the record" that he's going to grant her a minimum of 3 overnights a month.
When I hired my lawyer he said it would be extremely unlikely for her to be granted anything as both myself and my kids dad (we are divorced) agree on this matter. I am feeling hopeless and helpless. Do you have any advice for me, please?
Sincerely, Regan

Depsky60 - posted on 05/12/2015

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We are seriously thinking about filing for vistation for our grandson. The boys "father" REFUSES to let our daughter see him (JOINT CUSTODY) or talk to him. I've been calling him every day but am told the child is sleeping., give me a break. The "father" doesnt send the child to school even though the child will be 7 in a few weeks & has no friends to be around. The "father" is so controlling that whenever we see him (last Sept in the courthouse) the child always looks at his "father" before answering our questions or coming near us. Oh & the "JUDGE" said it was ok for the child to stay with his dad even though he is going to a methodone clinic & takes the child with him.....Good old Schuylkill County, Pa........When I call the Police they always say it's a domestic issue & they dont get involved with that anymore..........

Kristi - posted on 01/10/2013

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Hello
I live in Illinois and am in a custody battle with a male(and that's the nicest thing I can say about him) who wanted nothing to do with my child and threatened to have me killed and quit his job before he paid me a dime. He wanted to sign away his rights and wanted me to put my child up for adoption until his mother found out and wanted to be a grandmother. So since she had no rights she convinced him to take me to court to get "his rights"! He is a pita and a liar and a felon. He is also an RN and i think a narsasist. I see that he has done his best to make things difficult for me, calling the police and DCFS to try to abuse me some more maybe drive me crazy. He decided he didn't want to work with the mediator and traumatized my daughter ever since. My daughter is now 2 1/2 and now we have been to see a psychologist (Dr Judy Osgood) who was going to help with visitation, his anyway. I read about some of the bs she decided for some cases online. Men's rights groups are pushing hard to allow men to contineu to abuse women and children. I would like to know why more women don't realize this and stand up to stop the court, judge, legal system abuse?
I would like to know why if a male cannot act responsible why should he get any visitation with any child?
Women need to force the courts to actually do the right thing for children and hold men responsible for their actions and not reward their bad behavior.

BestMomma - posted on 12/26/2012

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Lori - I have to agree that it is a case by case decision. And I am thankful that there are laws in place that will protect a child from an abusive parent & I do agree that the next best thing for a child would be to be raised by a grandparent - or other fit family member.
My post never stated I was in fear of losing custody of my child.I am the primary custodial parent of my child & I do not fear that that is being taken away from me. I also allow my child to have a relationship with both sets of grandparents - she visits them all and I would not take that away from her because in my situation - none of her grandparents are "bad" people & they love and take care of her when she is visiting. With that said, one set of grandparents sued me for a visitation schedule - they're son does not live here and they want what his schedule was. In other words, they want the non custodial parents visitation schedule (a typical every other weekend schedule). My beef with that...I am a fit parent who works very hard to provide a comfortable and stable life for my family. They ski every weeken in the winter... they have everything they need and are happy. By no means, am I unfit to take care of my family. In fact, this set of grandparents said that I am a wonderful mother...so, why should a judge tell me what I should or should not do with my childs time? Why should I be forced, by a court order? I made my child, I birthed my child, I am raising my child...she is my responsibility. So why should someone come along and take that away? I have parental rights...allowing visits when I think visits should happen - is MY RIGHT as a parent.

If your grandchild is being raised by you because in your situation that was the best thing to have happened to your child, than that is a wonderful thing.

Lori - posted on 12/25/2012

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every grandparent has the right to see there grandchild,unless the grandparent is not fit to be with them but if thats the case the Judge in the case will rule in favor of the parent thank god there are gaurdian ad litems for the big decisions

Lori - posted on 12/25/2012

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well I can only say our Grandson lived with us the first 3 years of his life we have done everything for him and our daughter all the time she has refused to let the biological father see him and her current boyfriend has abused him,so when is it right for a grandparent to step in to help the child?
I cant understand why you would think you would lose custody of your child!!!!!
but as a Grandparent we also have rights to see our grandchildren and when a child of our own is saying no because she can is no reason in my books
especially when a judge says he sees reason for him to be around us and granted the rights to us

BestMomma - posted on 12/18/2012

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It has been a long time since I wrote this...due for an update!
I went to two hearings about my case. The first one was just the judge hearing the high level of our case and wanted us to mediate with another judge. I was happy that he did that because that first judge I could tell was bias towards the grandparents...I forget what he said exactly but enough for my lawyer to question him & if he could hear our case. He of course said he was not bias thefore he wouldnt be dismissed. Anyway, the mediation judge sat us in the courtroom. This judge was a grandparent himself but he wanted us to come to an agreement to avoid trial. He would excuse one party and we would switch back and forth - so i never heard what he told them. But, he did tell me that I am the mom and that at the end of the day it is my choice. I was not denying them visits in the first place and that it would be very difficult for them to get any actual rights or schedule. I was opposed to a schedule. We have lives that we live...practices, work, kids events...and that list can go on and on so an actual schedule could impede on that right of ours. We ended up settling on them having to request by email dates they would like to visit and then i would respond if it worked or not. If it didnt, i would give them a date that did. Which i found funny because that was exactly what I offered to them before this entire thing started...so in the end i guess you could say i won the case. It has been a year now...they have requested dates - even requested mothers day! But with all the petty requests and nonsense aside...it has worked out well. I have recently started to allow my daughter to do a sleep over once in a while. Only because I feel she is old enough now & she did okay at her sleepover.
No one bad mouths eachother infront of her...I am thankful for that. I wish I never had to deal with them but it isnt about what I want...its about what my daughter needs. If you are afraid they will make up stuff in court about you...or use whatever they can against you, they will. So be prepared for that. Have all of your evidence and make the best case to what is in the best interest of your children...the court wants to see that...not what you want. I had a binder full of evidence and research. Be prepared - even if you dont end up having to use it. It is emotionaly stressful and finacially stressful. I wish these people would see that the money they are making us spend is out of our childrens daily needs - their grandchildren are he ones that are being affected - even if they are shielded from it all. How can these grandparents think that is in the childs best interest? I think if you dont deny - and you are willing to work out a compromise, you will still end up with your rights and in control of your own children. Its horrible we have to fight for our rights like that.

Karen - posted on 12/18/2012

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Kim, I hope you have an attorney and that s/he has all the research material s/he needs -- but if you want to email me at kawyle@att.net, and to give me the state, county and court the case is in, the judge's name if known, and your attorney's name, I can send you some material for your attorney's use. I don't know if it'll be useful, and I do NOT guarantee that cases from my files are either applicable or currently valid -- but I'll do what I can.

Kim - posted on 12/18/2012

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I am currently being sued. I have court in 2 days. My ex husband died in September...I let the kids see their grandma...in fact they spent the night with her in October. Yet..she is suing me for grandparent's rights. I must add...I don't want to deal with her at all. Most grandma's are warm and fuzzy. However, she has bashed me to my kids..Even markered all over my face and hung the pictures up at my ex husband's funeral. For my kids and everyone to see. She has cursed me in front of the children. She has never had much to do with my kids when my ex was living. I also am concerned for their safety. As she puts my kids on 4 wheelers with no helmet. ...who does that?? I don't know how to fight this. My 12 year old does not want to go with her. My current husband has had struggles in life with alcohol...and I fear they will use that. However, I removed him from my home for 10 months. He has been completely sober for a year. ...so I don't see how that could play into this...but I don't know any other angle she could use. Worried.

Isabelle - posted on 02/01/2012

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We are currently being sued by my husbands dead ex-wife's parents. (his ex-inlaws). It has taken a year for us to get to court, thousands of dollars in costs all because they don't want to listen to the children's psychologist who says they need grief help. They overwhelm the kids resulting in multiple suicide attempts. They insist they are "good people" and insist on unsupervised visitation. It is taking a toll on our family, our marriage, our bank account, and all because they won't get help for their grief. I feel for you Best Momma - chin up.

Karen - posted on 11/13/2011

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I have represented Indiana parents resisting grandparent visitation petitions, and have sent material to the attorneys of parents representing parents in other states. I hope you have an attorney. (Your reference to thousands of dollars suggest that you do.) If you will send me certain information, I can provide (at no cost) some material for your attorney's use. I would need your name; the state, county and court where the litigation is happening; the judge's name if available; and the attorney's name. You can email me at kawyle@kiva.net.
--Karen A. Wyle
www.inappeals.com

Jade - posted on 11/10/2011

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we settled before it went to trial, you will get input if u dont agree to their proposal, in australia we have to go thru mediation before it goes to court, which means we all sit down together and discuss what we want and try to come to an agreement, they should pay ur attorney fees since there was no need to take it to court in the first place as you were not stopping ur daughter from seeing them, as for forgiving them, you probably wont find that easy until court is over with. I didnt really feel i had anything to forgive my MIL for as we were stopping her seeing the kids becoz hubby at the time had issues with his mother and used the kids and me to his advantage, after i split with him me n my mother in law got along great and could agree easily. I didnt have to pay as i didnt get an attorney, i just went thru it all without representation, but i dont advise that and i dont know what the american legal system is like, assuming ur from america?

BestMomma - posted on 11/09/2011

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Did you end up going to a trial or did you settle on an arrangement before? I am just wondering incase they force me into a schedule - wondering if I get input incase they do. They have not specifically said what they have wanted yet. I also think they should have to pay my attorney fee's - but they are in turn asking I pay theirs! It is just so crazy to me...when I don't deny them! It is a hard spot too - because I think they are awful people for doing this to my family, but I never thought they were awful people before. They were people that loved their granddaughter and I understood and respected that. How do you forgive someone who puts your family through so much stress and financial debt?

Jade - posted on 11/09/2011

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Yes i totally understand that, they r wasting everyones time if u havent been arguing in the past this is ridiculous, how often do they want to see her? Keep ur weekends with ur daughter and give them an afternoon after school that suits you. The order i ended up making was once a week monday after school, one full day on each term holiday and 2 full days on the xmas/summer hols (im from australia), the full days were to be discussed and agreed on between us, dont know if this helps u

BestMomma - posted on 11/07/2011

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But I feel that by them making me follow a court ordered schedule is taking away my parental rights. It takes away my decision to choose what she does -does she go to church on Sunday mornings or Ski lessons on Saturdays? or am I forced to send her to her grandparents house because a court has demanded I do so?
You stated you do not follow your court order and went back to doing what suits both of you - that is all I am petitioning for. I just want to what suits us - all I have ever asked is that they send me dates a few months in advance and I would let them know if we can commit or not. I also think it is just awful that they have taken nearly 10000.00 away from their grand-daughter. That is what we have paid in lawyer fees so far - I think it is just cruel. You are right in saying they want something in writing so they feel secure, but I have never given them a reason to not feel secure - and this feels so extreme.

Jade - posted on 11/05/2011

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I have been thru this and the judge will want to make a schedule of times when grandparents can see her, u wont lose ur parenting rights, i have a court order with the grandmother of my kids and we have never stuck to it becoz we ended up getting along and just do it when it suits us both. it may make grandparents feel more secure to have set times when they can see her, i'm sure they just love her and are afraid they will miss out on being part of her life, now u just have to decide what u want out of court and what things u r willing to compromise on, good luck

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