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How Can we See Our Grandson?

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 7 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
How Can We See Our Grandson?

Q.My son (24) passed away in August, he was living in Australia where he was bringing up his son (3 1/2) on his own (with help from his brother).

His ex-partner returned on his death and brought my grandson back to england where we also live, at the moment she will not answer any text messages or phone calls and will not allow us to see our grandson. Prior them going to australia we looked after our grandson for 2 1/2 years every week to enable her to go to work.

What do you suggest we do next? I have written my grandson a letter and I also got in touch with his nursery just to see if he was ok.

(Mrs D C, 5 November 2008)

A.

First of all, please accept my sympathies on the loss of your son. Losing a child is one of life’s most painful experiences and the difficulty must be that much harder because you are being kept from having a relationship with your grandson. I do hope that you are able to find a resolution that will bring you happiness and contentment.

From a legal standpoint, you have very little power as grandparents have no automatic right to see their grandchildren. The Grandparents Association has estimated that there are more than a million children in the UK who are not allowed to see their grandchildren. While some of the parents who make a decision to separate their children from either their or their partner’s parents do so because of their feeling that the grandparents could have a detrimental affect on the kids, many more simply find it awkward or uncomfortable to maintain a connection with their ex’s family members. Unfortunately, while grandparents suffer this loss, they are not the only ones. These children are denied close and loving bonds with their grandparents, people who, in all likelihood, want nothing more than to shower the children with love and affection.

There have been cases where grandparents have been able, with the assistance of a solicitor, to be granted some rights to their grandchildren, but this is most often when the natural parent(s) have shown themselves to be incapable of providing the children with safe and loving homes. You have not indicated that your grandson’s mother is a danger to him, so it is not likely that you would have legal recourse.

At this point, it would seem that your best chances of re-establishing contact with your grandson is to somehow soften his mother’s stance. If you have an idea of why she is keeping your grandson away from you, you may want to approach the topic directly with her and provide her with the assurances that she may need. Since she has been unwilling to return your calls and text messages, you might want to begin by sending her a detailed and heartfelt letter, expressing your love for the little boy as well as your desire to mend any hurt feelings that may exist between the two of you.

If you are unaware of any discord, it may be possible that she fears that your presence in their lives may make it difficult for her to develop and maintain a new romantic relationship and a closeness with her partner’s family. If this turns out to be the case, all that you can do is to assure her that while you hope to be a part of your grandson’s life, you respect her desire to move on with her life and promise to support her need for an independent life, separate from the one that she shared with your son.

I wish you the very best in your quest to reunite with your grandson.

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none - Your Question:
My son-in-law in the event of any disagreement always threatens to refuse us access to our grandchildren. This, despite, or possibly because ,we bought for our daughter the house in which he lives and that we pay our grandchildren's school fees. If he does refuse access is there anything we can do? I am thinking in terms of a legal remedy, bodies offering help advice etc.We get on very well with our daughter and and have always put her first and put up with him for her sake. His latest act, however, which was to prevent our staying in their house, as usual, when they went on their annual holiday on the grounds that it would be unfair to the nanny, whose home it was, really was the last straw. I should add that he is the only child of a mother who sadly was widowed when he was 12. He does not get on at all well with her, but has her there endlessly whereas we are not even allowed their on Christmas Day. I have nothing against her and we get on well. For example, when we were allowed to be there when they were away, we always had her round and she and I enjoyed gardening together and chatting. etc.

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you have purchased the house for your daughter and son-in-law or pay the children's school fees, you would still have to take legal advice about taking the matter to mediation or court if access was refused and you wanted to pursue the matter. I'm afraid, there is no 'legal remedy' outside the court process.
ProudGrandparents - 7-Jul-17 @ 4:11 PM
My son-in-law in the event of any disagreement always threatens to refuse us access to our grandchildren. This, despite, or possibly because ,we bought for our daughter the house in which he lives and that we pay our grandchildren's school fees. If he does refuse access is there anything we can do? I am thinking in terms of a legal remedy, bodies offering help advice etc. We get on very well with our daughter and and have always put her first and put up with him for her sake. His latest act, however, which was to prevent our staying in their house, as usual, when they went on their annual holiday on the grounds thatit would be unfair to the nanny, whose home it was, really was the last straw. I should add that he is the only child of a mother who sadly was widowed when he was 12. He does not get on at all well with her, but has her there endlessly whereas we are not even allowed their on Christmas Day. I have nothing against her and we get on well. For example, when we were allowed to be there when they were away, we always had her round and she and I enjoyed gardening together and chatting. etc.
none - 7-Jul-17 @ 5:50 AM
Momtotwo - Your Question:
I am 29 years old, my biological parents split when I was 2. My mother stopped access for a number of reasons through court and he never fought to regain access. Mom remarried when I was 4 or 5 and this man brought me up. 3 months ago my biological dad wanted contact with me, I agreed things were going ok then he started been abusive when we went out. Last Saturday he done the same abusive language towards me name calling etc. I decided to cut my contact. I have 2 children aged 2 and 4 who he has never seen. (stepfather is grandad in there eyes) tonight I received a text from biological dad stating he has an appointment about access to my children as he is my blood father and he has parental rights whether he has seen them or not. I want him to have nothing to do with my children and needed a bit of advice where he can go with this.

Our Response:
If you are living in the UK and your father has has little contact to you in your life and/or little contact to your own children, then he would not be awarded access to your children. If you are living outside the UK, then family laws may differ.
ProudGrandparents - 26-Jun-17 @ 3:13 PM
I am 29 years old, my biological parents split when I was 2. My mother stopped access for a number of reasons through court and he never fought to regain access. Mom remarried when I was 4 or 5 and this man brought me up. 3 months ago my biological dad wanted contact with me, I agreed things were going ok then he started been abusive when we went out. Last Saturday he done the same abusive language towards me name calling etc. I decided to cut my contact. I have 2 children aged 2 and 4 who he has never seen.. (stepfather is grandad in there eyes) tonight I received a text from biological dad stating he has an appointment about access to my children as he is my blood father and he has parental rights whether he has seen them or not. I want him to have nothing to do with my children and needed a bit of advice where he can go with this.
Momtotwo - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:56 AM
@Powidl - That is a difficult situation. I'd personally go with your gut instinct if you want to see them ask. If you aren't that bothered then let sleeping dogs lie. Good luck with what you decide.
BusyLiz67 - 16-Jun-17 @ 11:25 AM
Thank you JoJo, as you have noted, there is no easy solution to this situation.I feel badly (and not a little resentful) that my daughter never invited me to see her children, although gifts were accepted, and that there was no chance to establish any kind of relationship with them.And unlike your sister's children who grew up Down Under, they were in the same city (Vienna, Austria), and would have been easy to visit on public transportation.To add to the irony, I am now their only living grandparent - do you think I will be keen to meet them when I am 80? (am now 72).
Powidl - 15-Jun-17 @ 7:16 PM
@Powidl - I suppose it's hard if you have been estranged from your daughter for all this time. I have two sisters and naturally felt closer to sister No1's kids than sis no 2 who came back from Aus when her kids were 11 and 6. There is something to be said for being with the kids from birth and watching them grow. I guess you would just have to meet them and see if you have a connection with any of them and get to know them gradually. I suppose it also depends on the relationship with your daughter, if it has always been tricky with her and there are past unresolved hurts, then it also may be tricky with the kids. If you are on better terms with your daughter, then talking it through may help you. You might have to suck it and see :/
JoJo - 15-Jun-17 @ 2:41 PM
I have never seen my grandchildren - two girls, 14 and 12, and a boy, 10, - although they have always lived in the same city as I do.Their 45 year old mother chose to go with her father after our divorce and the estrangement became worse as time passed.Only after her divorce and his death have we resumed a very tentative contact with each other.But now I discover that I am simply not interested in these children - not that I don't wish them all the best, but one of the joys of grandparenthood must be watching a child's entire development.After being intentionally excluded from so much of their growth, and dealing with such pain in the process, I have no energy to expend on these children. I also cannot imagine that they are now terribly interested in meeting me.Do I: let sleeping dogs lie?grin and bear it?All comments gratefully received.
Powidl - 14-Jun-17 @ 6:26 PM
sue - Your Question:
Hi is it disposable for me to give my mother Parental Responsibility for my child, I still wish to keep my Parental Responsibility, im just thinking of there future if anything was to happen to me as there farther who dose not have Parental Responsibility but is applying to get it will not allow them contact if anything was to happen to me and this would be horrifying for my child, so im trying to put something in pace now to stop that from ever happening. thanks

Our Response:
In cases such as this, you can appoint a guardian in your will. A guardian is an individual who is charged with the responsibility of looking after your childin the event of your death. If there is another parent with parental responsibility who would automatically take over the care of your child, then you must include, in as much detail as you can, the reasons why you wish your designated guardian/s to take on the role of caring for your child. It is important to ensure that you clarify your reasons for making this choice so that there can be no confusion over your mental and emotional state at the time of making the will. I hope this helps.
ProudGrandparents - 16-Mar-17 @ 2:26 PM
hi is it disposable for me to give my mother Parental Responsibilityfor my child, i still wish to keep myParental Responsibility, im just thinking of there future if anything was to happen to me as there farther who dose not haveParental Responsibility but is applying to get it will not allow them contact if anything was to happen to me and this would be horrifying for my child, so im trying to put something in pace now to stop that from ever happening. thanks
sue - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:23 PM
I have 2 grandson 5 yrs old the other almost 2.My oldest grandson and I spent every weekend with each other since he was 1 yrs old.I either slept at my parents house so his great grandparents could share their live with him or he started staying at my house as he got older so I could have some one on one special time with him.My son got married to the mother of my grandchildren and has never liked me and I believe was threaten by the close relationship I was starting with my first grandson. Over night my son (the father told me I could no longer see or talk to him anymore or the grand kidsI was told I stress her out everytime we are together.I have no idea what I did nor do I know what she has told my grandson I went.She allows my parents to see him cuz they are a big help to their family finiancially.My parents thinks it awfull what they have done to me but wont say anything in fear they will do the same to them.They recently had another child which I also cannot see.They stopped me from seeing him at the same time when he was about 6 months.My parents cant even have the boys call me in their own home.My son and his wife also told my parents not to talk about me in their presence.Its pretty devistating to have a child torn out of my life after 4 years and be denied bonding with a new grandchild because their parents have a problem with me and my husband.Its just not fair, there has to be something grandparents can do when there is just no reason other than just being mean. Is there an open group where grandparents can talk about their stories to one another?
Sarah - 11-Mar-17 @ 10:11 PM
Scotty - Your Question:
For over a year I have had my darling granddaughter at least every other weekend until June this year when it suddenly stopped. I was told that unless I stopped my son from fighting for access, he is estranged from me but I was still able to see my granddaughter and he has been denied any form of access from the mother, I wouldn't be allowed to see her anymore! I was told to stop it by having him arrested or killed which wasn't a nice text, she wants her new happy family life which I have totally accepted, my granddaughter calls her new partner daddy which I accept as well, as my son and her weren't good together and it was unhealthy for all concerned. I have managed to get her for a couple of days here and there but have been disallowed to have her for any family occasions. I want to keep her in touch with this side of her biological family, she is very much loved and spoilt, my house has been redecorated over the year and filled with toys a playroom and she has her own bedroom, can this happen? Am I able to do anything as I know it's not so that she gets full access because the other nanny gets her all the time now.

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this to see whether you have any options. It is always worth keeping the texts as evidence, if needed. However, trying to keep on good terms with the mother is possibly the best way to gain trust and more access. Grandparents do not have the same rights as the biological parent and as specified it is more difficult to gain for access through the courts.
ProudGrandparents - 12-Sep-16 @ 2:44 PM
For over a year I have had my darling granddaughter at least every other weekend until June this year when it suddenly stopped. I was told that unless I stopped my son from fighting for access, he is estranged from me but I was still able to see my granddaughter and he has been denied any form of access from the mother, i wouldn't be allowed to see her anymore! I was told to stop it by having him arrested or killed which wasn't a nice text, she wants her new happy family life which I have totally accepted, my granddaughter calls her new partner daddy which I accept as well, as my son and her weren't good together and it was unhealthy for all concerned. I have managed to get her for a couple of days here and there but have been disallowed to have her for any family occasions. I want to keep her in touch with this side of her biological family, she is very much loved and spoilt, my house has been redecorated over the year and filled with toys a playroom and she has her own bedroom, can this happen? Am I able to do anything as I know it's not so that she gets full access because the other nanny gets her all the time now.
Scotty - 9-Sep-16 @ 8:02 PM
fewfruit - Your Question:
My daughter and her partner split up last year. Since my grandson was born 3 years ago my daughter has not been a good mother. He was born with problems and had to have operations since birth. All through my daughter did not take an interest and it was left up to her partner to look after baby. A gave up a good paying job and she went back too work. Since they split she does not look after him very well. He always turned up dirty at my house. I never said anything as he was well fed. But we went to her flat one day and there was Coke cans and Knives lying around in easy reach. We were worried for his safety. My partner spoke to my daughter and said something has too be done. We left it a week and it was still in this state. Also dog hair all over the place it hadnt been hovered and it smelt of dog urine. My partner told her as he worked with children he would have to report it. He went to social services for advice, we wanted them to help her, which we were told they would. We had no intention of removing my grandson. We had tried to help her clean up to no avail. They said they would help her get into a routine and help sort her finances out. As a dirty house usually shows the person is depressed. I even went to the doctor with her. She was put on antidepressants but she stopped taking them. When my daughter was 15 she had a hard time even tried committing suicide. She used to hear voices in her head. She lies constantly (which other people have now noticed). When she was 15 I did take her to doctors but nobody would listen. She has flitted from one relationship to another. The relationships break down when the lying is to much and then she jumps into another. The last resulted in a baby. I am feeling there is something phycologically wrong and at breaking point. She has now gone into a new relationship. She suddenly blocked us, Her nan, grandsons father and his mother from seeing him. I feel she has done this because she is worried her lies will come out to his family. We have since found out she is driving around her car with no tax, mot, and insurance. We have lent her so much money we cant do it anymore as she never seems to get straight. Please please what can I do to help her she wont talk on the phone.

Our Response:
You don't say what the outcome with Social Services was. If you are concerned then you could speak to the NSPCC which does have the ability to report cases, please see link here, but also mainly give advice on what is the best approach in such a situation.
ProudGrandparents - 10-May-16 @ 10:56 AM
My daughter and her partner split up last year.Since my grandson was born 3 years ago my daughter has not been a good mother.He was born with problems and had to have operations since birth.All through my daughter did not take an interest and it was left up to her partner to look after baby.A gave up a good paying job and she went back too work.Since they split she does not look after him very well.He always turned up dirty at my house.I never said anything as he was well fed.But we went to her flat one day and there was Coke cans and Knives lying around in easy reach. We were worried for his safety.My partner spoke to my daughter and said something has too be done.We left it a week and it was still in this state.Also dog hair all over the place it hadnt been hovered and it smelt of dog urine.My partner told her as he worked with children he would have to report it.He went to social services for advice,we wanted them to help her, which we were told they would.We had no intention of removing my grandson.We had tried to help her clean up to no avail.They said they would help her get into a routine and help sort her finances out.As a dirty house usually shows the person is depressed.I even went to the doctor with her.She was put on antidepressants but she stopped taking them.When my daughter was 15 she had a hard time even tried committing suicide.She used to hear voices in her head.She lies constantly (which other people have now noticed).When she was 15 I did take her to doctors but nobody would listen.She has flitted from one relationship to another.The relationships break down when the lying is to much and then she jumps into another.The last resulted in a baby.I am feeling there is something phycologically wrong and at breaking point.She has now gone into a new relationship.She suddenly blocked us, Her nan, grandsons father and his mother from seeing him. I feel she has done this because she is worried her lies will come out to his family.We have since found out she is driving around her car with no tax, mot, and insurance.We have lent her so much money we cant do it anymore as she never seems to get straight. Please please what can i do to help her she wont talk on the phone.
fewfruit - 9-May-16 @ 2:23 PM
Jeri - Your Question:
My husband and I are trying to get protective custody of our special needs grandson. He had lived with us for most of his life. Also his older sister and mother. There is now a younger sister in the mix and her father is abusive to our grandson. Our grandson has autism and since the mother started living with the boyfriend , he has stopped eating, doesn't sleep and he was terrified to go back home. When I tried to discuss some of the issues with my daughter she told us if we felt that way we wouldn't be in his life anymore. She is doing what the boyfriend wants. We had called the police on him before and he is angry with us. I have tried to find out about custody or even visitation rights and was told I have to have the disabled boys fathers permission to see him. The boys father is unknown to me and I am so afraid something is going to happen to the boy. We have called CPS to report the abuse but we both work for the state as caregivers and know that they are backed up. I don't know if anyone has checked on him yet and I know that he has been told to lie to us about what is going on in the house or he will get in trouble. Do we any rights at all and what can we do to protect this little boy and get custody of him. Please somebody help me find the answers.

Our Response:
I can only suggest you seek legal advice due to the complicated nature of your situation. You can also contact the NSPCC if you think your grandson is in an 'abusive' situation (you don't say whether the abuse you are concerend about is verbal or physical). The NSPCC states: 'When there is a serious concern about a child, and information about the child's identity has been provided, the NSPCC counsellor will make a report to Social Services. They will also contact the local police if the child is at immediate risk. Counsellors and their support team will 'make a referral', which means sharing the information with social workers and/or police to make a decision on what to do next.' Please see link here. Your legal adviser will inform you of your options regarding access which may be difficult if your daughter and boyfriend are defensive about the accustations.
ProudGrandparents - 3-Nov-15 @ 10:23 AM
My husband and I are trying to get protective custody of our special needs grandson. He had lived with us for most of his life. Also his older sister and mother. There is now a younger sister in the mix and her father is abusive to our grandson. Our grandson has autism and since the mother started living with the boyfriend , he has stopped eating, doesn't sleep and he was terrified to go back home. When I tried to discuss some of the issues with my daughter she told us if we felt that way we wouldn't be in his life anymore. She is doing what the boyfriend wants. We had called the police on him before and he is angry with us. I have tried to find out about custody or even visitation rights and was told I have to have the disabled boys fathers permission to see him. The boys father is unknown to me and I am so afraid something is going to happen to the boy. We have called CPS to report the abuse but we both work for the state as caregivers and know that they are backed up. I don't know if anyone has checked on him yet and I know that he has been told to lie to us about what is going on in the house or he will get in trouble. Do we any rights at all and what can we do to protect this little boy and get custody of him. Please somebody help me find the answers.
Jeri - 31-Oct-15 @ 6:12 AM
@jhblly, unfortunately there isn't much you can do as grandparents as you have no legal rights to make her bring the children. This situation is going to have to be resolved by your son. Is he going to spend the week with the children too? If so then he could take her to court and get an order form the judge allowing him to take the children out if the country for the week.
roser - 12-Aug-14 @ 11:24 AM
Hello, I live in Europe, but not in UK. I have 2 grandchildren who live in UK aged 15 and 10. My ex daughter in law suggested I visit the last year, which I did and got on famously with my grandchildren. The purpose of the visit was to get to know the children , then my ex daughter in law would ALLOW, my son to bring them over for a holiday. My son sees his children most days, no problem with visitation rights. But now my ex daughter in law has changed the goal posts, again, she was prepared to bring the children over, or so she said, but couldnt manage it . Now my son can bring them over for a week but she wont allow it, where do we stand in this situation? Both my husband and myself would love to be able to enjoy the children for a week, sure they would love it here as life is so different, we live in the country but only 5 mins from the beach, so plenty of activity for them to do. So desperately want to enjoy both of them Have you any ideas or help you can offer on this matter. Manty thanks
jhblly - 12-Aug-14 @ 10:45 AM
our grandchildren have just been removed from our care they have been with us since November when their parenst gave us then under a voluntary agreement which they have now withdrawn and our two precious grandchildren have been placed in foster carewhile their parents undergo a parenting assessment course to see if they are fit to parent and have them returned we didn't even get to say good bye they were taken from a contact visit and school have we any chance of getting them back or at least have them come visit we have had the little girl every weekend since she was five weeks old she must be so confused and feel let down by everyone she has ever trusted
lulu - 5-Mar-14 @ 8:27 PM
My son and daughter have divorced, My son has been denied contact with are nearly 5 year old g.daughter and is trying to sort this out via the court but the delays in private law hearings make it impossible to say how long his case will take and the costs keep rising. We have seen are g/daughter only when her mother will allow us to and never have we been allowed to take her out on our own to the park or for a special treat. I have worked all my adult life with children (child psychotherapist) and my husband has been a prison visitor and is a Reader in the church - we neither of us have tried to interfere with our children's relationships and have tried to keep a dialogue going with our daughter in law- she says we are special and she wants us to keep in touch but when we turn up for a visit it is never certain we will see out grand child- arrangements are changed because something else has come up. We live a couple of hours drive away so we can't just go away easily and come another day. We never see our g/child at Christmas or on special occasions because her mother takes her to her family. I am at loss to know what to do to retain some contact so our g/child knows us and knows we love her. I send postcards every month and try to Skype but her mother does not always answer the calls. I know we have no legal rights and I do not want to make things worse by making a statement in my sons contact application because I fear what little contact we do have will be taken away, I never realised before that grandparents could just be wiped out like this.
Melen - 29-Aug-12 @ 7:37 PM
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