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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35044
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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My 13 year old daughter went to stay overnight with her grandmother

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My 13 year old daughter went to stay overnight with her grandmother after she and I had an argument about boundaries (where she can and can't go and with whom... usual sort of stuff). Now her grandmother is refusing to bring her home because my daughter has said that she doesn't want to come back. I suspect that my Mother's real motivation is more malevolent since she and I are recently estranged at my instigation. I telephoned my mother and asked her to bring my daughter home because we need to talk in order to resolve our differences. She refused to talk to me and handed the phone to my daughter, who reiterated that she didn't want to return home. When I finally managed to speak to my Mother, I asked her to bring my daughter home and stop facilitating her rebellion, to which my mother told me to 'f**k off' and put the phone down. Now she won't answer the phone, and aside from turning up on her doorstep in an attempt to physically extricate my child, which will only exacerbate the situation, I feel powerless and quite desperate!
Can my mother legally do this? Is there anything I can or should do?
Any advice would be very much appreciated!
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What is the position of the child's mother?
Was the child in school today?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am the mother. The child lives permanently with me and has done since birth. My daughter and I also share a home with my partner of 10 years (and our 8 year old son, half brother to my daughter). I have been divorced from the child's father for 12 years. The child sees her Father for 4-5 hours every week on Wednesday evenings after school. She very rarely sleeps over with him (less than once a year).
I work part time (3 days a week 9-5).
The grandmother usually only sees my daughter on Tuesdays after school for 3 or 4 hours, with occasional 'sleepovers' for one or two nights maximum during the school holidays.
My daughter has now spent 3 nights at her Grandmother's house, against my wishes.
Yes my daughter went to school today.
Which part of the Uk are you in, and have you spoken to the school about matters?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
South West.
Not yet but I was going to contact the Home School Liaison officer and her Tutor in the morning to let them know.
Is your mother capable of caring for your daughter?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Physically yes. Doubtful that she would have an awareness of modern day issues facing teens. Emotionally, she's unsuitable to care for a child in my opinion.
Would Social Services recognise that do you think?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't know, possibly.
Being realistic - and thinking about the washing, the attitude, the cost etc etc - do you think your mother would really wish to take on the full time care of your daughter?
Again thinking about the home comforts etc will your daughter really wish to stay for more than a few days?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I definately think my mother would offer to allow my daughter to live with her on a permanent basis. Whether this would work out as a long term arrangement is another matter. You think I should just sit tight and wait to see what happens?
That is a difficult one - you are in a no win situation either way.
You can ask the Police to help you recover your daughter - but frankly they will simply speak to her and check that she is not at any immediate risk and leave her where she is.
You can try involving Social Services - but once they are involve din your life it is hard to get them out of it and it is not pleasant to have them second guessing your parenting skills.
This leaves you with waiting it out and not giving your mother the pleasure of knowing how much that hurts you.
A degree of apparent indifference may assist in terms of both your mother and your daughter.
You know that she is physically safe and is going to school.
Make sure she has the basics - but not the extras and tell her that you expect her to visit you and her brother two nights a week and at the weekend.
I cannot promise you that it will work - and after two or three weeks you may need to reconsider this if it has not worked
At that point you will need to involve Social Services I am afraid
Please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you