Grandparents rights

Corinne - posted on 02/27/2012 ( 36 moms have responded )

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I've seen many a thread on fathers rights and such and was just wondering how people felt about Grandparents rights. I know in some countries, these things exist and was wondering how it all works. Here in the U.K Grandparents rights are non-existent, if I were to (for example) cut my Mum out of our lives, she would have to get permission from a judge to even get the ball rolling. Then she would have to prove that her seeing the kids would be beneficial to them, it's all an uphill struggle. Also, what about aunts and uncles? Esp. those with kids who would be cousins with yours. How far should 'family' rights go?

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Tracey - posted on 02/29/2012

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If grandparents are given visiting rights should they have to sign a contract agreeing to use your methods / beliefs in the presence of your children.



If I am an atheist, vegan, time out disciplinarian and my parents are very religious, strict, meat eaters who think my kids need a good dose of god, roast beef and a smack never hurt anyone should they be allowed to impose their views on my children?

Stifler's - posted on 03/01/2012

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There is usually a good reason why people don't let their parents see their kids.

Jodi - posted on 02/28/2012

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I know there are grandparent rights in Australia. They aren't automatic rights, and they have to be heard through the courts (from my understanding), but nevertheless, their rights are considered to be important.



Or perhaps, the more important question is the child's rights to know their grandparents, rather than the other way around.



The majority of these issues occur where there is the death of a parent, or a messy custody issue. For instance, I know that if something were to happen to me, my son would have to go and live with his father (yay.....). And I can pretty much guess that my ex would cut my family out. By law, my parents have the right to dispute that and gain access. In fact, my husband would have the right to fight for access on behalf of my daughter 9my son's half sister).



That doesn't mean they would win, but they have the right to file and show that it is in the child's best interest.



And yes, I do think it is fair.



So how do you make a law that says:

You can file for grandparents rights ONLY if your child is dead, or if your child has been through a messy divorce, but not if your child and/or your child's spouse has decided to disown you for whatever reason they choose. Not all parents know what is in the best interests of their child.



It's a little hard to define.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012

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In Canada if you have been denied access to your grandchildren, you must apply to the courts as a grandparent and request access to your grandchildren. The courts will then make a decision in the child's best interest. Not always does the grandparent get what they are seeking. There are absolutely no legal steps available for aunts/uncles or other family members. Only grandparents.



There are two approaches the courts here have assessed.

The first approach, which has been characterized by some legal commentators as the “Parental Autonomy” approach, is based on the premise that parents have the legal responsibility and the right to make decisions with respect to with whom their child will associate, how often, and in what circumstances. Parents are traditionally, and continue legally, to be the arbiters of their child’s “best interests”. In the absence of a finding of parental unfitness, or harm flowing from lack of access, the state has no right to interfere with parents’ proper decision making authority.



The second approach has been called the “Pro Contact” approach and tends to proceed from the premise that generally, contact between a child and their grandparent is beneficial, and therefore access should not be denied unless it can be shown to be harmful. The legislation in some jurisdictions, as noted above, requires a court to expressly consider the quality of the grandparent-grandchild relationship as a factor in determining the best interests of the child when making a custody or access order.



The grandparent(s) does not necessarily have had to have been a part of the child's life before. They can apply at anytime and the court's will decide from there. It probably helps though....



ETA: A grandparent can also apply for guardianship if they can prove neglect or abuse by the parent(s).

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/27/2012

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Here in Canada there is a such thing as Grandparents' rights but it clearly has to be an ongoing relationship. But very rarely is it ever used. At least according to my husband.



I know about grandparents' rights first hand in New York though because my ex's mom tried to use the grandparents' rights in New York to force me to allow unsupervised visitation. She didn't meet the requirements dictated by New York State's grandparent rights because she hadn't contacted me for a year after I had divorced her son even though I hadn't moved or changed my number.



In New York state (not all states have grandparents' rights from what I understand) the grandparent making the claim and bringing the parent or parents to court have to prove that they had an established relationship with the child and were now being denied visitation.



I believe that if the child was close to his or her relatives there is some relevence as long as there is proof that the child has had a relationship with the person and that it would be beneficial to the child. But I feel that anyone who is seeking visitation should put forth the effort to mainttain or establish a relationship themself and not leave it to the child or the parent. This has been the case with my ex;s family since the divorce,

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Angela - posted on 12/13/2013

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Jodi, it's been my experience of reading about other people's issues that parents do not usually keep their children away from the GP just because they felt like it. Usually parents keep the children away because there are problems with the relationship - GP thinking they have the right to be involved in parenting decisions, GP trying to break up the parents' marriage (sometimes you see that the paternal GM wants the parents to break up and then for her son to give her the GB to raise), GP taking the baby away from the mother, insisting on being in the delivery room, throwing a fit when they don't get exactly what they asked for in terms of visits, staying after the baby is born and "helping" by sitting on the couch holding the baby and expecting the new mom to wait on them hand and foot, etc. We were in England in January of 2012 visiting DH's family and went to see his GM. She was nice as pie to our faces, but afterwards we heard that she had been telling people that DH could have done better and I wasn't very pretty as I don't wear makeup. Needless to say, we will not be seeing her again. (She doesn't know that yet; I don't think it really matters to her as she has shown little interest in DH since he reached adulthood anyway.)

Amy - posted on 09/02/2012

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Jodi--My daughter has an uncle who is a convicted child rapist. I have a cousin who is a convicted felon as well. I have family members who are in the Mob and in Hell's Angels. My own brother has severe psychotic tendencies. Do you think it is appropriate to have your child around them...even supervised? Family does not make up a child's identity. The child's behavior, personality, etc., are what makes up a child's identity. No one but my mother on my side of the family is allowed anywhere near my daughter. Why? Because the courts have deemed it to be an unhealthy and unsafe environment for my child...even supervised.

Amy - posted on 09/02/2012

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To clarify about the laws in NY...grandparents are not automatically given visitation rights. So this comes from personal experience on the law. A couple years ago my husband and I split up for a very short amount of time, mostly because of his mother. The first thing she did was try to file for visitation. A judge had told her that she had to provide proof that I was intentionally and maliciously keeping my child away from her. She had to prove that I was incapable to be a single parent. And she had to petition just to see a judge to plead her case. I was told by several lawyers and a judge that as the child's biological mother, I had the right to tell the grandmother no. Ultimately, the child's age will have a lot to do with it. The child, if old enough, will have to talk to at least the judge. But in almost all cases, the judge will not grant visitation rights. The NY law only gives the grandparents the rights to petition for set visitation.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/01/2012

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I know. Shoot my lawyer went and had my ex MIL and I talk before our case started then told the judge that we didn't even need to be in court because my ex MIL and I had already reached an agreement of one Saturday a month for one hour which I was to supervise (not my ex MIL's friend who myself and my daughter didn't know), My ex MIL also had to call me the Wednesday or Thursday (at the latest) to schedule the visit. It wasn't up to me to contact her.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012

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Yeah sometimes people are a little nuts.. ;) Go over and beyond the requirement and cause unjust burden on other's and themselves. I will never understand some people. LOL

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/01/2012

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Yeah but it was ridiculous! I didn't really have to go to court over it she could've just called me and I would've set up a time to do a supervised visit.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012

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Oh good, glad to hear you were on the good end of the outcome! Not glad you had to go through it but at least you won and were able to prove yourself... ;)

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/01/2012

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I had to educate myself a few years ago when I was summoned to family court by my ex MIL because she decided a year after my divorce was finalized to contact my county's family court and claim she was being denied the right to see her granddaughter.



She wasn't. I hadn't moved from my parents' house where I had been living since I moved back to NY in November of 2003 (this was 2007) and she hadn't contacted me at all to ask about seeing my daughter. I on the other hand was too busy working to deal with anyone other than people I actually cared about.



Needless to say when we went to court I was able to prove she'd never contacted me and I wasn't keeping her from my daughter.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/01/2012

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Yep. I have had to get myself educated simply because I have recently had to seperate my mother from my life. So, if she ever decides to come forth, I need to know how it works. ;)



I however, have not withdrawn her rights to my children. They are just not allowed overnighter's with her but she is the type that would say I have taken them away..... sigh...

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/01/2012

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Thanks Meme, I only know about Grandparent's rights in New York State.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 03/01/2012

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That's why you go to court to prove it. There was a very good reason I wanted supervised visits with my ex MIL and since I was able to prove it I was granted them.

Jodi - posted on 03/01/2012

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I think the child will be stripped of his or her identity without grandparents and other family members in their lives. It's an injustice to the child ! I wouldn't keep my kids away from their family members. I think its a healthier choice for children to have contact . I do supervise some visits that I feel I distrust. Good luck with your decisions !

I don't know why so many people are battling over children and rights. It's the child's family ! It takes a village to raise a child ! Bad grandparents wouldn't want to have contact, because they don't care about kids ! I'm not for grandparents rights but I'm not for parental ownership and control of children either.

Becky - posted on 02/29/2012

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My BF's Uncle just lost his case for Grandparents rights. His Grandson had lived with him & his wife for years along with the boy's mother. The boys father was not involved too much during that time at all. When the boy's mother passed away, the father demanded his parental rights and took custody of the boy from his grandparents. They asked if they could visit with him and spend some time with him or even just talk to him on the phone, but the father refused to allow it at all. He denied all contact. They took it to court to try and gain some visitation with the grandson they basically raised and lost. The court ruled that the father had the right to deiced what was best for his son and court didn't need to be involved in the matter. The boy is 14 now, but they had been fighting for visitation with him for a few years now.



From my understanding of the situation, the father is not a bad person or a bad father, but he harbors some sort of resentment against the grandparents for some reason.

Jennifer - posted on 02/28/2012

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In Oklahoma, grandparents can take the parent to court, but only in the case of custody or death(possibly military service, but that hasn't held, yet) A grandparent can not take their child to court, only a former spouse. It is still very hard to get grandparents rights here, and I think, for once, Oklahoma is doing something right..........



My dad was a total jerk while divorcing my mom, and although he had been a HUGE part of my kids life, for awhile I would not let him be around them. He tried to take it to court, but the judge that got his case handled his divorce. He threw it out. My dad calmed down and got to see my kids again, btw.



My husbands parents are a nightmare. They also tried to get unsupervised visits, but since we were already offering visits that were supervised, that was also thrown out.



I think kids having grandparents that are involved is important, but the courts don't do such a hot job with just the parents!! This is one of those areas that needs to be left alone unless it is really out of hand.

Tracey - posted on 02/28/2012

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How about if ALL those with parental responsibility ( which can include step parents, or in case of parental death - the grandparents or social services ) feel the grandparent should not see the child then there is no case. But if they disagree and one person with parental responsibility feels granny should have access then there is a case. This would give grandparents access in a divorce case as you assume that parent wants to continue access.

Corinne - posted on 02/28/2012

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Should the Grandparents be able to contest, if both parents agree that they shouldn't have access?

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/28/2012

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I agree Jodi.



As I keep saying in New York State (where I'm from and where I had a family court hearing reguarding my ex MIL alledging that her grandparents' rights were being violated. So remember I went through this) does have grandparent rights, but they have to be proven before the grandparent receives visiation rights. So I do believe that they're necessary even if the law can be abused just to irritate the parent.

Corinne - posted on 02/28/2012

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I see a lot of you think the same as myself, it should be up to the parents.I am in a situation where my in-laws only visited once every 8 weeks or so, and after a nasty fall out we haven't heard from them since June. Now they seem to think they should be allowed unsupervised visits - ha! This is also the feeling of my husbands aunt, who hasn't seen us since our wedding day almost 2yrs ago and his Gran who we haven't seen since July. As far as I'm concerned, they have proved to us that they cannot be trusted and it would kill me to have the courts decide that they could have access. I'm also not on speaking terms with my Dad and his wife. My Dad has only seen the kids a handful of times since they were born, yet wants them to call him Granddad? and his wife has never seen them.

If I thought my kids would benefit from contact, I would set it up in a heartbeat. But I firmly believe it should be up to the parents and not the courts (unless the parents are inept).

Tracey - posted on 02/28/2012

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Due to my parents and inlaws divorces and remarriages my kids at one point had 15 grandparents and greatgrandparents, if they all had equal rights to visitation my kids would be permanently moved and confused.

Stifler's - posted on 02/27/2012

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That's how I was looking at it. I don't see why grandparents should be able to demand to see the kids if the parents don't want them around.

Katherine - posted on 02/27/2012

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I guess if the grandparents it fought it enough, which in some cases I know they have, then they have been given the rights. It's actually amazing how many grandparents I know or have seen on CoM that have rights.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/27/2012

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That's pretty much how I was looking at it as well. That's also how it was presented to me when my ex MIL summoned me to court to demand her grandparents' rights. She didn't have them under NY's grandparents' rights laws though but I did do supervised visits with her and my older daughter just because she didn't have any family in NY that contacted her.

Amy - posted on 02/27/2012

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I was looking at it as the grandparents right to see there grandchildren if the parents all of the sudden refuse them access to the grandchildren and those grandparents have been playing an active role. Obviously the parents should have custody if they are fit.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/27/2012

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In New York Grandparent rights just refer to visitation (at least that's how I experianced it) rights and getting a say in when the child can visit and if it can be extended.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/27/2012

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Emma, very easily. Some parents aren't fit to be parents and sometimes a grandparent is a better option. Other times the child may see grandparents as second parents (as my daughter sees my parents since they helped me raise her) and it would be like if one of their actual parents just left them.

Katherine - posted on 02/27/2012

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I think Emma has a point. Unless both parents are inept, it should go to them. Although I HAVE heard of grandparents getting rights.

Stifler's - posted on 02/27/2012

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I think it should go as far as the mother and father. Grandparents right and aunts and uncles sounds like a joke to me. How can grandparents prove they are beneficial anyway when a lot of people were born without any and are just fine.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/27/2012

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As long as the place you're in has grandparents' rights I'd believe it's true. But the grandparents also have to prove that they have had a long and positive relationship with the child.



Just make sure to look up what the laws are where you live. But if I was in New York and decided not to allow my parents contact with my older daughter they could take me to court for their grandparent rights because I had lived with them since my daughter was born and had helped me raise her.

Mother - posted on 02/27/2012

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Is that true Megan?? I know a Grandmother thats is in a situation that could stop her rfom seeing a child she has almost raised until now. He is almost 6 now.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/27/2012

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That's terrible Amy. You see in this case I believe your parents could get the court to grant them visitation because they obviously do a lot for your nephew

Amy - posted on 02/27/2012

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Megan that's good to know, my parents live in NY and my mother is so afraid of not being able to see my nephew she won't cut my brother and SIL off. So my parents continue to bend over backwards for them, letting them borrow cars, helping pay there bills only to be treated like crap by them!



I don't know what the laws are here but personally I wouldn't cut either grandparents out if my kids lives because they play such an integral part. I don't know if I would feel differently if my childhood had been different but my parents have always been there for me and want the sane for my children.

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