My grand-daughter X, aged 22, has been prohibited from seeing her two step-sisters, 8 and 9, for a couple of years by her father and stepmother. She has received a letter from one of the children (must have been posted by a parent, probably her father) saying that she wants to visit X. X wrote to her father and said could they meet on neutral ground , but he says not until she has a relationship with him. Over the past 6 years he has made this impossible. Does grand-daughter have a RIGHT to see her siblings ? And could you tell me, please, what she should do next ? She is a low-paid worker, probably under £10,000. Your comments would be much appreciated. They do not live in the same town so a visit would have to be carefully arranged. I think the question of a RIGHT is the most important ting, before she starts any other process. And do solicitors still do a free half-hour consultation ? Thanks
I would be grateful if you could continue to find some advice.
Grand-daughter has suffered three rejections in her life - her mother left when she was just six months old, her stepmother was mentally cruel to her from the moment her own child arrived and continuously told her to get out over a period of 3 years - so at the age of just 17 she did, her father (my son) appears to blame her for the failure of his first marriage and was mentally and physically abusive towards her, which I have only learned in recent years .
Grand-daughter has tried to put all of this aside in order to maintain contact with her sisters, but her father refuses to build bridges, probably under the direction of his OCD wife.
You will appreciate, therefore, that seeing her sisters is crucial to her as they are her only close family.
I am helpless to intervene as my son (or his wife) has convinced himself that I am to blame for all this. On the otherhand I am concerned that there will be a backlash on the two little girls, or they will be told that their big step-sister is not a suitable person to see.
One has to bear in mind, however, that one of the parents must have posted a letter from the children in which one of them said she wanted to come to see her big sister.
All so sad. A list of possible actions would be VERY helpful.
Hello Clare, thank you for getting back to me. I'll hopefully paste below her father's reply by text to a letter she sent recently asking to meet with her siblings. Her letter was reasonable and non-accusatory.
"The reason you haven't heard anything before is that to be honest I can be bothered with it. You can ring them on my phone on Tuesday nights ( the only day they aren't doing anything ) The only way you can see them is here as I don't see why you think Ange or anybody else would want any part of it and until you sort stuff out with me this won't happen either.We bent over backwards to pick you up from gillingham all the time , bought you clothes when we came and in return have just had grief and abuse. I cannot do this with you once a year and unless you take responsibility for your self and actions this will never change. I am tired of it. "
She last saw her siblings in January 2013 in Costa Coffee. The picking up from the station happened twice. The family travelled to Exeter once to see her and bought her a pair of trousers and a top from Primark.
Her step-mother admitted that she had been hard on her and said she didn't know how to deal with her until she had a child of her own, hence the visit to Exeter. She further planned to go again in August last year and stay in a hotel for a couple of nights and take all three off-spring to the zoo. Grand-daughter had a 9am appointment in hospital on the morning of the zoo visit and, prior to the visit, asked her father if he would take her.(It was a 45 minute walk for her) It was an ECG examination and took 10 minutes. The answer was a definite NO. Father then accused her of being very selfish, he was giving up work to come and visit etc. There has been no communication with him since because G-daughter feels he is always in a temper with her, shouts etc.
There is much more to tell of course, but probably wouldn't affect your response.
Hope this helps.
I'm not sure whether it has hand-written. I will find out. Bear with me.
Here is the letter written to her father by my grand-daughter. You will see in the next to last paragraph that she quotes her sibling's letter with the date.. It was basically telling about her school holidays and was included with her sister's thank-you letter for a birthday gift.
"I am writing to you to ask for you to consider contacting me to arrange for me to have regular contact and visits with Jazmine and Ashleigh as we have struggled to come to an agreement since August last year.
As I am sure you can remember, we stopped having contact after the time you were all supposed to come down to stay in Exeter. Unfortunately, I had an important appointment at the hospital at 9am that day, and therefore couldn’t spend the day with you all due to plans made for you all to go to the zoo. After an angry telephone call from you, after I mentioned that the reason you were supposed to be coming down was to spend time with me, I decided that I could no longer maintain a relationship with you. I was struggling a lot with mental health due to a few reasons and had actually been signed off work. None of that meant I didn’t want contact with my sisters, but it seemed that unless I had a relationship with you and Tam, I cannot see Jazmine and Ashleigh.
I have attempted to regain contact with them through you a few times since august 2013 to no avail. After receiving a letter from Ashleigh on 09/09/14, ending with “I really miss you and want to come back and see you” I think it is time that we sorted something out so that I can be a sister to them again.
I realise that me and you will never be able to regain a relationship for many reasons and past issues, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a good and reliable sister to Jazmine and Ashleigh and be a positive part of their lives. I am happy to see them at ange’s with her there or someone else in the family. I don’t think coming to the house is a good idea and think that contact in calm environments that everyone is happy with is the best way forward. Living in Exeter, I won’t be able to see them every week but I can come up as often as I can and keep in contact via writing letters.
Please consider this and let me know via letter or email so that we can come to an agreement.
Hope this helps. I think the mental health issues she mentions (agoraphobia and panic attacks) are caused by the stress she's been under most of her life. She tries very hard to carry on, but damage has been done, I fear. She is a little better now.
FINAL QUESTION !
Is there any possibility of Legal Aid in this case ?
Many thanks for your help.
Thank you for all your help!