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Can I stop grandparents from having visitation rights to my child?

Can I stop grandparents from having visitation rights to my child?

I have an unhealthy relationship with my parents. 

They have caused alot of stress to me and my partner. 

When my child was born, things got worse. To cut a long story short, the final straw was when my father rocked up at my house with a baseball bat. We managed to get away and moved out of the house the next day. They dont know where we are now and we feel safe.  However, he told me that they would take me to court to get visitation rights to me son. 

So my question is, can they take me to court and get access rights? I figure they havent got a leg to stand on. Me and my partner are fit parents and have a great relatonship with my partners side of the family. SO my child isnt missing out on a family life or one a set of grandparents. Both my parents have a medical history of depression and have attempted suicide. 

Surely this is enough for me to prevent my child being exposed to them like I had to as a child?

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Can your parents take you to Court? Yes they can apply to the Court to spend time with and communicate with your son, their grandchild, but only after attempting mediation first.

Whether they would be successful in obtaining orders to that effect depends on a number of issues which tend to be specific to each case.  It would be difficult to give a more specific answer without knowing the details.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  M K Gandhi
The 2006 Amendments to the legislation around Family Law are very clear about this and support Grandparents applications to the courts. Grandparents are very specifically included in the Act. In fact the Attorney Generals department have further hinted through various press releases that they looking at even further enhancements to ensure Grand Parents get appropriate contact with Grand Children.

So there is a 'weighting' already that will give some sort of outcome to an applicant Grandparent. What that contact will be is subject to many issues and circumstances which Calista the previous poster has indicated already. If they apply the costs will be fairly minimal as they can be self represented. It will certainly be necessary and is mandatory for mediation. You can check out the Family relationship centres. It may be better to reach agreement at mediation than to have to accept an order that may not be what you would be happy with. It seems that communication is difficult and you will need some assistance to resolve any of those issues. Threatening to take the child away so that the Grand Parents will never see the child would be simply not helpfull here nor will that get any resolution. Can both sets of Grand Parents communicate directly?. If so, that may be a way for them to have some limited contact with the child.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Despite the previous Government toughening up the wording (in the Amended Act) regarding Grandparents and the current Attorney General making friendly noises about Grandparents - the reality is that Grandparents have a less than 15% chance of any Court action succeeding.

Whilst every major study has concluded that there are very positive benefits to a child of Grandparent involvement, it is still unlikely to outweigh the best interest principal if there are conflicts between the Parents and Grandparents.

You have implied there is an element of potential violence - a strong indicator of conflict between the Parent and Grandparent.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Grandparents and the Family Courts

There have been a few interesting cases lately involving grandparents seeking time with their grandchildren.  A couple of these are:

In Sampson & Jacks the Judge decided the children would benefit from renewing the relationship with their grandparents.  The relationship between the grandparents and their daughter had broken down when the grandchildren were very young.

The mother had crafted a story to explain to the children why they did not see their grandparents.  This was based on expert advice from a psychologist.  During the trial there was expert evidence given about the risk to the children when and if they discover the truth.  There was also expert evidence given about the risks to the mother should she continue to avoid the issues she had with her own parents.

While the expert advice at trial was that the grandchildren spend no time with their grandparents the Judge decided that the sleeper issue, the story the children had been told to explain the absence of their grandparents, needed to be considered.  Orders were made that allowed the grandchildren to spend some time with the maternal grandparents with the first few sessions being supervised by the Counselling Section at Sydney Family Court.

The Judge observed that the paternal grandparents did not appear to have done much to help resolve the situation.  It is also interesting that the experts who gave evidence took part in what is called a conference of expert witnesses.  The Judge commented that this discussion between the experts was very helpful.

The parents appealed the decision and the original decision was upheld.  See Jacks & Samson.

In Pearce & Gough and Ors, orders were made that the children spend time and communicate with the paternal grandparents.  Some of the orders were made with the consent of the mother and the paternal grandparents, other orders were made without consent by the Judge.  It was concluded that to be given the opportunity to establish a relationship with the paternal grandparents was in the children's best interest.



If you are thinking about taking a case to court I would suggest joining SRL-R.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  M K Gandhi
Thanks for the advice.  I can see why they have change the law to give more legal rights to the grandparents.  Particulary for cases when the parents are neglecting the grandkids. However, it should also be the right of the (fit) parent to choose what people are to be around their child. Not to be spitefull but what the parents think is the best for the child.

By my first posting it probably sounds like i have told my parents they cant see their grandchild.  I havent ever said that to them. I have however told them that i need space from them as i was trying to learn how to look after a new born baby and didnt need extra stress from them. They took it the wrong way and then caused more trouble for me. I tried and tried to get them to understand that i wasnt stopping them seeing their grandchild, i was stopping them see me but they had blinkers on and would not listen. I did try patch things up with them later on. We all met up and they got to see they grandchild a couple of times.  They even came to his 2nd birthday. But they never wanted to make it pleasant for me and my wife.  They dont feel that it is important to patch things up with me (their son), and think they can treat me poorly and still expect to see my son. By not trying with me, it makes every meet up very very stressfull. So much so that me and my wife will be stressed for weeks leading up to the day.  

So I have tried many times but as they were not willing to try, it will never work.  It is now at stage where if they wanted to make things up with me, I dont want to take the risk as I think they will let me down again. I dont need the risk of that stress. Growing up as a kid I never saw my dads parents as my parents were fighting with them.  It didnt bother me that i dont know them.  My parents also had issues with the other grandparents,uncles aunts.  I think now as an adult I understand who is the commmon link in all these family dramas. Why should i have to let them cause more trouble and potentially breakup my new very happy family.
fido said
….. I havent ever said that to them. I have however told them that i need space from them as i was trying to learn how to look after a new born baby and didnt need extra stress from them. They took it the wrong way and then caused more trouble for me. I tried and tried to get them to understand that i wasnt stopping them seeing their grandchild, i was stopping them see me but they had blinkers on and would not listen. I did try patch things up with them later on. We all met up and they got to see they grandchild a couple of times. They even came to his 2nd birthday. But they never wanted to make it pleasant for me and my wife.
How do you patch up easily when you keep grandparents away from bubs for 2 years or more? What a shame they have missed out on such a lot of time. Families are complicated things. Would mediation with a specialist have helped you sort all this out? It is easy to sit on the outside and suggest a range of options. Are there another set of Grandparents from your wife's side that could foster a Grandparents day? You could have a day out together leaving the child with both sets of Grandparents? Building relationships with Grandparents and extended family is a challenge at times but the Grandparents won't be there forever.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 

Family Relationships

They can be difficult to maintain and are somtimes easily damaged. Then it can be very difficult to repair. Where it concerns our parents, it is took late to rethink once they are gone.

I would suggest approaching a Family Relationship Centre. There are 65 of them spread around Australia. Note the word "Family" in the title. These centres are not restricted to seperating parents. Perhaps your parents are having trouble accepting you as adults and parents in your own right. A family Relationship Centre should be able to help with some mediation between you and your parents. They could probably assist in helping to establish some approriate and acceptable boundaries for your parents as well.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Fido, is there any possibility that you may be projecting your experience onto your child? Perhaps rather than going for the "Can I stop my Grandparents from seeing my children?", you should be considering "How can I make it so that I feel OK with my children seeing their grand parents?", or perhaps "How can I repair my relationship with my Parents?", perhaps both. You are only able to control one factor and that is yourself. Trying to get someone else to do something often results in that something not happening.
I've been looking into this myself as I am being threatened with court action from my ex's parents. I found this article about an Australian case that I found useful. I'll attach it.

Now for my opinion. When I first heard that grandparents can sue for visitation, I thought that was the silliest thing I ever heard of. If they can get visitation, then why not all the uncles and aunts as well? Where does it end? In the end, I believe us parents should be allowed to raise our children the way we want, and that includes deciding who we want influencing our children. I think it's selfish for grandparents to drag the parents into court to force a relationship.


Attachment
When we talk about visitation rights of grandparents that have been estranged through separation things are complex enough as normally their child who is now a parent has no control in many ways as to whether they gets to see the grandkids, and lets face it if you only see your own children for 2 days finding time to incorporate a visit to their grands can be taxing. singlemum I have to say I support those grands who fight to see their grandchildren, my personal situation saw my daughters mother move her 300k's away from me but just 10k's away from my mother, I tried to negotiate contact of just a couple of hours every second weekend but this was refused. Her mother wanted to cut every aspect of me from her life. It becomes a control issue with one parent not able to even attain contact for themselves let alone loving grandparents. The children are alienated from people who love them and it is a difficult road to transverse when contact starts again and may I say very painful for the grands.

fido your situation is complex but still comes down to what you were taught " control ". You reflect an internal struggle as to what is best but when things become unsettled or difficult you fall back on what you were taught , with this you struggle to understand why your parents can't see that this is what they taught you and why they don't try harder to act in the way you want them to.

Both yourself and your parents are issuing demands  and aspects of control on the relationship and this is where you need help. Someone has to be the adult and work at the relationship whilst reducing the triggers that determine response and conflict, it's a work in progress where beliefs and attitudes must change and to be frank your parents may not be able to do this or understand the concept of change on their behalf.

It will be a long hard path which will conflict with you especially, it has already and you have responded in a way which may not have been beneficial to the situation.

Best of luck D4E  
D4E said
When we talk about visitation rights of grandparents that have been estranged through separation things are complex enough as normally their child who is now a parent has no control in many ways as to whether they gets to see the grandkids, and lets face it if you only see your own children for 2 days finding time to incorporate a visit to their grands can be taxing. singlemum I have to say I support those grands who fight to see their grandchildren, my personal situation saw my daughters mother move her 300k's away from me but just 10k's away from my mother, I tried to negotiate contact of just a couple of hours every second weekend but this was refused. Her mother wanted to cut every aspect of me from her life. It becomes a control issue with one parent not able to even attain contact for themselves let alone loving grandparents. The children are alienated from people who love them and it is a difficult road to transverse when contact starts again and may I say very painful for the grands.

fido your situation is complex but still comes down to what you were taught " control ". You reflect an internal struggle as to what is best but when things become unsettled or difficult you fall back on what you were taught , with this you struggle to understand why your parents can't see that this is what they taught you and why they don't try harder to act in the way you want them to.

Both yourself and your parents are issuing demands  and aspects of control on the relationship and this is where you need help. Someone has to be the adult and work at the relationship whilst reducing the triggers that determine response and conflict, it's a work in progress where beliefs and attitudes must change and to be frank your parents may not be able to do this or understand the concept of change on their behalf.

It will be a long hard path which will conflict with you especially, it has already and you have responded in a way which may not have been beneficial to the situation.

Best of luck D4E
 
It's not MY parents, it's my ex's parents and perhaps you should read my other post which goes into more detail about the situation before you start deciding that I'm doing the wrong thing. My ex called his father down to the park during his visitation with our son to abuse me in front of my 2 year old. I have never stopped anyone seeing my son. I offered time with my ex's parents many times after we split and they would turn it down and weren't interested in keeping up any contact. My ex decided to take himself out of my son's life for the last 5 months. It's not up to me to make sure my ex's family see my son. If his own father gives up his visitation, then they should be blaming him, not me. I've discussed the situation with a solicitor and they agreed with my stance and told me the grandparents can certainly sue for visitation but they probably won't get it. My ex will get some visitation if he is serious about making an agreement and then he can organise time for his parents.
singlemum said
I've discussed the situation with a solicitor and they agreed with my stance and told me the grandparents can certainly sue for visitation but they probably won't get it. My ex will get some visitation if he is serious about making an agreement and then he can organise time for his parents.

'Sue' for visitation? you certainly like using aggressive words and your ex will get 'some' visitation?

Perhaps your 'in your face' attitude is what has also caused your problems with the CSA?

Your posts display so much anger that is not healthy for you or your child.

Posts from this topic have been moved by members. 1 posts have been transferred to topicview.

 Senior Site Moderator and Administrator
singlemum said
It's not up to me to make sure my ex's family see my son.

Morally and perhaps legally I disagree. Your son has a right, I believe, according to family law and perhaps according to the UN convention of human rights, to have a relationship with the grandparents taken into consideration (SRL's please correct me if I'm wrong this). Now say the other parent left the country then in that situation I believe that the parent caring for the child may be required to facilitate the relationship. I think in general that the parent's parent are expected to facilitate(did I read this on here recently). As for morally I think it is only right to facilitate such a relationship. in fact I have done this with the grandparent's of the other parent in my own situation.

As for your situation, if they "sue", then I think what will happen is that you will be asked to attend mediation and a solution may be found. If not then one party will take it to court, you could or they could. Anyway papers will be served. The person upon whom they are served has options, ignore them (pretty stupid in all likelihood), contest them (more to'ing and fro'ing and perhaps let and absolute stranger[Judge] decide upon the very limited information, likely without having an inkling as to how that judge may rule) or to consent ah hey presto no problem at all. The wise person may consider that it is far better for all concerned for a proactive solution to be found. Sheesh even the FLCA advises not to use them if possible. They say :-

FLCA website - Applying to the courts said
Applying to the courts

Reaching an agreement with the other party offers many advantages:

    * you make your own decisions
    * you greatly reduce the financial and emotional costs of legal proceedings
    * your continuing relationship as parents, if you have children, is likely to work better
    * you are able to move forward and make a new life for yourself, and
    * you may improve communication with your former partner and be better able to resolve disputes in the future.


If you cannot reach an agreement, you may consider applying to a court for orders. Sometimes, this may be the only way to deal with a dispute.

There are steps you must take before applying to a court. For more information follow the above left link at 'In this section' to the page titled 'Family dispute resolution'.

Take heed you solicitor says probably will not get what they want, but they will likely get something and this may well be what they ask for it it appears to be reasonable to the Judge and especially if you appear unreasonable, which contesting the humane right to a relationship (note that the last changes (2006) to the legislation specifically mentioned Grandparent's if I recall correctly). One might wonder if your solicitor is even aware of the changes (certainly should be).
No singlemum I do not need to read any ofyour other posts as I was reflecting on fido's situation and interjecting understanding and support for granparents who do tend to suffer due to separation which ends up affecting the kids.

I doubt your parents would recieve the same treatment and my coments are generalised except when talking to fido, your comments seem strange and uncalled for considering they mainly reflected stresses put on my child which were uneeded and very selfish on her mothers part, had the situation been reversed my dughter would have been assured contact with all her grandparents.

My post was not about you but thank you for the insight you have provided, and yes no doubt there are many lawyers and solicitors who still enjoy " stiring the pot " to increase conflict, perhaps they should read a little more with regards to encouraging a relationship with the fathers family.

I do not mind being critisised for my comment but at least point out specific quotes which you feel have been directed at you and not my whole post that was intended for fido.

If I did want to address your situation I would have done so on your other post.

Regards D4E
I really think the Laws need to be rethinked.. Grandparents had there chance to raise there own children, now they want to steal our chance for them selves..Why don't they just sit back and watch there children raise there own kids and offer some support if needed, and don't try to take control cause that is the root of all arguments, There should only be one right and that is the parents to have full rights over their children, Even the courts can not interfere unless the parents abuse that right, Than that is when the Grandparent comes into play.. So if the court gives a parenting order (Unsupervised visitation) to a grandparent that is abusive to the parents, violent ( including trying to hit the parent when they don't get their way) (Don't say this don't happen cause it happens all the time) wouldn't that be putting my child in danger, and what happens if something terrible happens. The courts just put my child in danger all because the courts think they know whats best for my child. The parent knows whats best for their children and as a Father I am bound by duty to keep my child out of harms way. Even to block my child from seeing an out of control grandparent that is my right to protect, not the courts. My wife supports my decision over her mother ( She feels free now). My MIL is unable to change, you give her an inch she takes 3 miles and still wants more..  Peace is only achieved once we have nothing to do with her. The kids don't need her culture of angry violence, My Kids still have Grandparents but not them..  Just for the record I never stopped them coming to see the Kids, It's too much of an effort for her to come see them.   Give back the Rights to the parents…
What can you say to that? Ray it is clear there are serious issues in the relationship between the parents (You and your wife) and your wife's Mother, that needs to be dealt with by professional people. There is certainly a problem if there is violence and that is intolerable and cannot, in any way, be condoned. It appears there may be some cultural issues that may interfere here. Does the wifes mother have an understanding of Australian culture and law and that there is a zero tolerance to violence as advised by the Government in many papers and reports. Suggest that next time there is any violence that the Police will deal with it. They are usually prompt in getting family violence matters dealt with in both intact families and separated families.
Ray said
The parent knows whats best for their children and as a Father I am bound by duty to keep my child out of harms way. Even to block my child from seeing an out of control grandparent that is my right to protect, not the courts.
I am not sure the judicial officer would agree with you. It most certainly is a responsibility to protect your child but "Out of control Grandparents" when with a parent may be completely different with a grandchild. It is something that only the judicial officer can get a picture of by dealing with all the parties.
Ray said
The kids don't need her culture of angry violence
Absolutely agree.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
We did see the police when she attacked us and they told us not to go back and stay away so we did, And all is good, But we still cop the abuse on the phone.. My MIL also has a violence order against her for attacking an old lady in the town were she use to live. My wifes real father died a 2 years ago (MIL and Him were separated He's a good man! ) A week after he died My MIL Joked about  his death to my wife and made her upset. Every one she meets ends up having nothing to do with her … And after all that we still let her see the grandkids, but it's not enough until my wife leaves me and moves back in with her.. so if the judicial officer still lets her have rights somethings wrong with the system…And she knows about
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