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Deceased ex-wife's parents seeking custody

Not sure where to start or if this even the right forum, so I will give some background first and go from there.

My wife and I seperated late 2008, she went to live with her parents with our two children, as she had nowhere else she felt she could go.

Unfortunately wy ex (along with my daughter)was killed in a car accident early this year. since then my ex-inlaws have tried to take my son from the hospital although they backed down on that, because my son stated that he wanted to come and live with me.

I have arranged times for my ex-inlaws to see my son, even did this in writing, unfortunately during this time my ex-father inlaw has repeatedly sworn at me, has assaulted my step-father on two occasions, although my step-father did not press charges, as he did not want the assault to affect my ex-father inlaw.

I have stopped my ex-inlaws seeing my son, as one of the things I asked when he started seeing them was that they not ask my son direct for contact and that if they wanted a visit outside of what we had organised they ask me when my son couldn't hear so that he was not upset by not being able to see them, which they agreed to do, unfortunately they have not stuck to.

I stopped my son actually seeing them totally after the last time he spoke to them on the phone he unfortunately had to hear his grandfather swearing about me, my son had NEVER heard his grandfather swear before this time, and after this phone call he stated that he didn't want to see his grandparents anymore.

Although they have been told that he doesn't wish to have contact with them, they have continued trying to contact him, including going to his school during school hours and visiting with him there, which I am disgusted with the school for allowing, seeing as they are not even on the contact form for him, but that's OT, after which my self and my partner have had major behaviour issues including my son lashing out and telling us he wants to die, these behaviour issues ONLY arises after he has seen his grandparents.

My ex-inlaws have now decided to go to the family relationships centre to arrange mediation, and I am not sure what to do, as I know even if there is an agreement put in place they won't stick to it and they willbully me in front of my son to alter it.

Where do I go from here?
First thing panther " Don't panic ".

Mediation is there to try and resolve issues with regards to contact etc, if you feel your child is endanger of suffering through contact because of the way his grandparents are acting then you have the right to say no.

You have lost much already and probably are not in a state of mind conducive of working through these problems alone so look to support groups to help with understanding grief etc, unfortunately it looks like all this will happen in combination with mediation.

Some important things to remember is the grandparents will be acting out of grief and possibly some self mortality issues as well as perceived obligations that their daughter may have ( in their eyes ) wanted.

You are not a counselor but rather a father so you need to decide what the best action is for your child, if need be get a restraining order to prevent contact at school if you feel this is too much for your son, come down hard on the principal with regards to allowing this to happen as it is directly effecting your son. Explain to them as nice as possible that adversarial conditions exist and your son feels caught in the middle.

Don't get me wrong I support grandparents seeing their grand children and having time with them but it does need to be consistent and regular and not when they have the urge. It seems too much like they had more control when their daughter was living with them and desire that control back, this is not healthy for the child and will confuse them especially when you bring alienation into the matter.

How old is your son ?????

Stay strong I'm sure others will put forward their thoughts in time best of luck D4E
Re -read and re-read the previous post - it really is worth it. They have lost their daughter and now they fear loosing the grandkids.


Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Hi Panther, The question I have to ask is, was your X an only child.  The reason I ask that is because I have seen first hand how an accident can devistate a family.  I assume your son is now the only link his Granparents have with their daughter and can be one of the reasons why they are doing what they are doing.  They coud see you as a person denying them access to the only link they have with their daughter.  Grief can be a huge motivator
Tragic story that needs much compassionate understanding and will most certainly require trained grief counsellors and mediators. Professional services need to be involved here. As Monte has stated what else can you add.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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I am going through a similar thing - my wife died a few months ago and relations have deterioated to such an extent that my 12 year old daughter is refusing to see my wife's mother at all.  I have no doubt that grief is playing a role in both cases and I have repeatedly asked my MIL to allow my daugher time to grieve and get ready for high school and that things will gradually return.  Unfortunately she is unwilling to wait and after a forced mediation session she has now served me with a formal parenting plan order and I have to go to court in 3 weeks for an interim hearing. In my daughters view "Nan is wanting to be my mum and i don't want that".  She is already traumatised by losing her mum and is now terrified that she will lose me.  My wife and i were married for 16 years and i provided well for my family.  I live 2 hours away from my MIL and really don't need the additional stress this is causing.
Hi Grieving sorry to hear of your situation.

It can not be easy to be in the middle of all this for you and I would think a little scary and bewildering to be served with court papers.

In your situation because of the age of your daughter it will be hard to enforce any court orders, kids of this age tend to do their walking with their feet and if the court is made aware of your daughters wishes and how strongly she feels there is a probability they will act according to her wishes.

You no doubt will respond to the court documents to which you can state why you are rejecting the suggested parenting plan and offer to keep working with your daughter with regards to the relationship with her Gran, you can also suggest where your daughter sees the problem with regards to Gran overstepping boundaries and making your daughter feel like she is trying to replace her mother.

Reassure your daughter that you will represent her wishes to the best of your ability and let her know Gran is acting out of love even if misguided love Gran wants to be part of your life.

Its important at this time that you both relax and do not put too much emphases on this, it will all blow over soon enough and with a bit of luck along the way Gran may learn a little with regards to listening otherwise she will push her granddaughter away and become very bitter.

I still support grandparents seeing their grandchildren but those grandparents also need to remember that they are indeed grandparents and have a supportive role in their grandchild's life.


Netopoulis & Kitsannis [2009] FMCAfam 1126

An interesting not related case but shows the typical sort of orders that might be made:
Netopoulis & Kitsannis [2009] FMCAfam 1126

FAMILY LAW  Childrens issues  mother deceased  maternal grandparents application for extension of the time their granddaughter spends with them  additional time opposed by father  ordered some additional time with maternal grandparents.


(1) The father have sole parental responsibility for the child [X] born in 2003 ([X]).
(2) [X] live with the father.

(3) [X] spend time and communicate with the maternal grandparents as follows:

        * (a) each alternate weekend from after school Friday to 5:00pm Sunday;
        * (b) during school term, each Wednesday from after school to 6:00pm;
        * (c ) for one week in the July school term holidays as agreed between the parties and failing agreement for the first week from 10:00am on the first Saturday to 10:00am on the second Saturday;
        * (d) for one week in the long summer vacation as agreed between the parties and failing agreement from 10:00am on January 10 to 10:00am on January 17 each year;
        * (e) from 3:00pm Christmas Eve to 10:00am Christmas Day in odd numbered years;
        * (f) from 10:00am to 4:00pm Christmas Day in even numbered years;
        * (g) for four hours on [X]s birthday and the mothers birthday from 4:00pm to 8:00pm;
        * (h) from 4:00pm on the Saturday preceding Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday until 4:00pm on Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday in each odd numbered year;
        * (i) from 4:00pm until 8:00pm each Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday in even numbered years;
        * (j) from 10:00am to 4:00pm each Mothers Day; and
        * (k) as otherwise as agreed between the parties.
(4) In the event [X] is spending time with the maternal grandparents on the Fathers Day weekend, such time shall be suspended each Fathers Day from 10:00am;

(5) The father shall facilitate [X] telephoning the maternal grandparents upon her reasonable request to do so.

(6) Whilst [X] is spending time with the maternal grandparents, the maternal grandparents shall facilitate [X] telephoning her father upon her reasonable request to do so.

(7) The maternal grandparents shall be permitted to attend [X]s end of year school concert, speech night and any concerts, performances or sporting events in which [X] is a participant.

(8) The maternal grandparents shall be responsible for the travel arrangements associated with their time with [X].

(9) In the event [X] requires medical treatment whilst with her maternal grandparents they shall immediately notify the father.

(10) In the event [X] suffers any serious illness or accident when with the father, he shall advise the maternal grandparents.

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
These are different circumstances.

The child was effectively living with the Grandparents whilst the Mother was sick. The Father allowed this and they were default primary carers for a short period.

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