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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34107
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Clare, I may have another potential legal problem.My

Customer Question

Hi Clare,
I may have another potential legal problem.My wife and I are the grandparents to two boys aged 10 and 7. Unfortunately, our daughter fell in love with a man who I can only describe as socially inadequate. He is an heavy drinker and drinks in the pub and at home. When he is 'tanked up' he very hard deal with and most of the time talks utter rubbish and repetitively with very frequent foul langauge.
He is heavily influenced and 'controlled' by his mother who is very interfering and petty and he is unable to break the 'apron strings' and 'fly the nest'. My daughter has never been on holiday without his mother and other family members going too. She even went with her daughter on her honeymoon. The entire family are 'rough and largely uneducated and have no social etiquette whatsoever and are downright rude and pig ignorant and put a lot of store by being 'hard'. Our 'son-in-law' who looks like a shaven headed thug, shows no interest in his children or doing any activities with them; and his parents haven't a clue as to what 'quality-time' means, as they never spent any time with their own son and daughter.
We are very hands-on with the children and have learnt them the usual social skills and many things what their dad (Steve) (or his family) couldn't be bothered to do and we also finance and take the elder boy to Cubs and camp trips, in addition to all the other activities that we do with the children. We live about seven miles away and we wished we were closer, as we know almost all of Steve's family (who are on his doorstep) are working against our daughter (Sam) and us.
When Steve's family are together, they completely 'blank us' and move to another room if they can. It's clear they wanted nothing to do with us from the outset and don't want their 'grandchildren' having anything to do with us either, even though we have bent over backwards to help Sam and Steve financially and with extensive freebie childcare which has taken quite a lot of our time.
It appears now that Steve and his mother (supported by the family) are attempting to stop the children coming to us for weekends etc. and making all sorts of excuses. It is affecting the children, especially the older child who understands more of what is going on and is already traumatised by it and has expressed a genuine wish to live with us.
Our daughter is very loyal and has the attitude of "she's made her bed etc.'; she has a timid nature and hates conflict and going crazy trying to please both sets of parents. We are 'quiet' too and have kept a low profile in order to make our daughter's life easier.
That's the background and we wish to know: Is our daughter legally obliged to respect the wishes of her husband and his 'thug-like' family and prevent the children from seeing or staying with us? Do we, as 'hands-on' grandparents, have a right to see our grandchildren and have them visit/stay with us?
Kind Regards
James Tibbetts
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HiThank you for your question - how often do the children stay with you and when did they last stay?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Clare,Thank for your fast reply. On average every 2nd weekend but variable. Weekend stays being from 7.00 p.m. Friday to 5.00 p.m. Sunday. They last stayed for one night Saturday 9th Jan'. However we have noted that the weekend visits have dropped to about one per month since last summer.
James
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Have you spoken to your daughter about this?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have, but gently and she denies that anything is amiss when we ask her, even though its clear that when we request to have the grandchildren she makes excuses.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Grandparents have no automatic right to contact with grandchildren - indeed the even need the permission of the court to apply for contact.
Clearly it is up to your daughter whether she follows her husbands wishes or not - there is no law that says she has to.
If the contact with the children does drop to less than once a month then you may wish to consider arranging to discuss matters with there parents using Family mediation
www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk
to try and set a regular arrangement since the children clearly have a close relationship with you.
If that fails then a court application could be considered
However once a month is a reasonable compromise I am afraid.
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Clare,
I'm just a little confused. Our son-in-law has no objection whatsoever for the children to stay at his own parents and that is generally the case as his parents have one child to stay over every alternate week.
Are you saying that:
My daughter has absolute rights as to when and with whom her children can see or stay with; and can she legally override the father's objections, if he (or his mother) doesn't want the children to stay with us?
Do the children (aged 10 & 7) have rights, as in: does either or both have a legal right to see their grandparents on a reasonably regular basis if they request it?
If the children are denied access to us by either parent, does that constitute child-cruelty or emotional harm? As it very definitely causes the older child distress when he can't come to visit.
Please advise me if you require further payment for the extra requested advice.
James
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
This is a domestic matter between your daughter and her partner.
Yes if all contact between you and the children stops then the existing close relationship between you will mean that you are likely to obtain a court order for once a month contact
Clare
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
Thank you again our help and advice, it's much appreciated. We sincerely ***** ***** the situation doesn't deteriorate any further for the children's sake. I've left you a well deserved five-star rating.
Very best wishes
James
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi James
I so hope all goes well
clare

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