How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1390
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
James Mather is online now

I'm worried about our 6-year-old grandson. His mother and

Customer Question

I'm worried about our 6-year-old grandson. His mother and father have divorced and our grandson lives primarily with our daughter and his father has access overnight every Wednesday, after school and taking him to school on Thursday, and he also stays with his father alternate weekends collecting him from school on Friday and taking him to school on Monday.
Our grandson was very happy until about 6 months ago when his father started to ask for equal access. He then started to get separation anxiety going to school, and if there were handovers from his father and to our daughter they became quite traumatic. If the handover is from mother to father, then its largely OK as our daughter spends a lot of time reassuring our grandson and ensuring he knows where he is going to be and trying to manage his understanding and not making too much of the fact that she misses him.
The anxiety attacks concerned the school and they suggested intervention but we are not sure this happened. Things settled down by the end of the summer term but have re-emerged this term. His father went on holiday in September for 10 days and the goodbyes were described as horrific by our daughter.
In addition, I there are a number of other issues that are raising concern
1. Hygiene & Health
• Our grandson is often in the same clothes that he left in and hasn’t had a wash/bath.
• Our grandson doesn’t go to bed at a reasonable time when he is at his fathers and returns tired.
• Our grandson rarely cleans his teeth when with his father which is likely to have a long term impact.
• Our grandson has been prescribed spectacles to correct what should hopefully be a short term sight problem and the Optician has confirmed the importance of wearing the glasses, but his father does not ensure that they are worn
• His father does not keep his house that clean and his kitchen hygiene is poor – a mother whose child went for a play day has complained of the problem and Jerome has had stomach upsets which were referred to the doctor
2. Education, Sport and General Stimulation
His father
• does not ensure the reading and spelling the school sends home is done – this has to be completed on his return to our daughter
• has not helped our grandson with the sporting activities he enjoys and historically did not encourage him to continue with RugaBugs (Rugby Club) Awhen it was his weekend
• appears to only occasionally take our grandson out to stimulate his interests, or if he does it always seems to the same place
3. Safety & Security
His father
• faints at the sight of blood or even when he knows that there has been an accident. He recently fainted when one of his son’s milk teeth came out. We are concerned what would happen if his father was on his own and an accident happened to our grandson
• and his wife are heavy smokers and whilst this is a personal choice with the house being old, in a poor state and unkempt there is a potential fire hazard
• works at home, and whilst in the main he can provide adequate supervision, there must be times when his work will impact on his ability to look after a very active 6 year old when he is in his care during school holidays
We appreciate some things could be considered different parenting ideals, but our major issue at the moment is the anxiety that our grandson is experiencing as well as the hygiene and health issues which in particular could have a long term impact. Being tired can also impact his schooling and often leads to irrational behaviour. Also important are the issues relating to his teeth.
Our daughter struggles to speak to her ex-husband who has proved to be very dominant, so these issues are not being addressed. Incidentally I have been told by a friend who accompanied and supported our daughter when they previously attended counselling, how plausible he was which overwhelmed her.
We appreciate that we have few rights as grandparents but strongly feel that the issues need to be tackled but don’t know what to suggest to our daughter, or if there is anything we can or should do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further informtaion first

Has the father actually applied for increased contact?

Given that the school is the handover when do the problems actually arise?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the quick initial response. In answer to your questions:
- the father just keeps asking our daughter to increase the contact and hasn't applied to the court for increased access. So far our daughter has just refused his request.
- the hand over problems as far as we are aware occur in the school holidays but there maybe issues when he is left at school. We know he is reluctant to go into school by himself and has to be passed over to the playground supervisor. There have been issues at school events when both parents are there and our grandson is staying with our daughter. The problems arise when his father leaves.I hope this gives you the information you need.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

What happens when his father leaves - just a flavour please

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His father is very reluctant to go which upsets our grandson
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

This is happening in the school playground?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not we know - we only know about school events like nativity play, school concert, fete,etc. where he would say goodbye but not go.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

have the school raised any concerns over the hygiene problems?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare -I will switch to a phone call on Monday whichI think will be easier for both of us
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.