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grandmother wants access to our children

Looking for information on grandparents rights

First some history,  my wife's mother has had an extensive history of abusing prescription medication in the treatment of "migrains" to the point of self administering by injections and using more than 1 doctor and up to possibly 3 or 4 doctors. we have been married nearly 12 years and have 2 children over our marriage we have tried to maintain a relationship with her this can be extremerly hard at times when she is on a "bender" and calls and talks with my wife as you can barely understand her and she then becomes offended and either hangs up or is abusive, it has dramatic effect on my wifes emotions. We had visits both to her place in QLD and her visiting us here in southern NSW for the kids and my wifes relationship with her.

3 years ago she came here to visit for my 2 child's birthday and Christmas, we were slightly uneasy about this visit as leading up to it she was having migraines but we let her visit after reassurances from her current husband that she would be fine, on arrival at the airport she was helped from the plane under "the influence", by 10 oclock that night she was yelling at my wife to drive her to hospital ( I was working Nightshift) when my wife said no she become quite angry yelling at my wife and being quite rude to her my wife ended up calling her an ambulance and they took her to hospital although they said all she required was sleep.

Our hospital is quite small in a rural town, they ended up giving her something to quieten her down and rang for my wife to collect her.

We promptley drove her to the airport when I got home and sent her back to QLD.

Not easy as this was my daughters 5 year birthday.

When she returned to QLD we did not hear anything for a day or so then we recieved some hurtfull emails and abusive calls followed by threats of legal action, then just before new years my wife recieved a phone call from her stepfather saying he had dropped her mother at the shopping centre and as she got she said to ring my wife and tell her if she did not apologise she would kill herself and she disappeared into the crowd.

Short story she did not kill herself and reappeared 2 days later, police were notified of her threats of self harm and interviewed her husband.

She had little contact with our children for a while but made threats of legal action again so we allowed phone calls and letters and presents which after about a year and with much worry we allowed them to visit her for 5 days which then progress to my wife going as well and to the point that this year we were all going up for Christmas and our daughters birthday as well as the great grand parents coming from OS. But with the death of a family member and some ugliness amongst some family, and our apparent lack of caring for my mother in law she cannedChristmas and has become nasty and spiteful towards my wife and myself, she then, after my son did not want to talk to her on the phone (due to his disappointment in what happened about Christmas) cut him from her will and made my daughter the sole beneficiary of her estate.

We have not said she can not see or talk to the kids but we have massive concerns after all this and she is again making threats of legal action and trying to drag other family members into the legal proceedings including her ex husbands business dealings ( they have been divorced for over 15 years)who we get on with extremely well.

sorry for the long winded preamble I know she has some rights, We have some rights (more) but the kids have the most, but does she have any grounds as we really could not afford court proceedings and she knows that.
I would assume that as Christmas has come and gone you have had some contact with the Grandmother. How does she expect a Federal Magistrate to sort this out? She can take all the court action in the world, (BUT only after mediation) but how a judicial officer is going to resolve any of the angst here is asking for a miracle. I suggest you send her some family photos from time to time and a few school reports on how the kids are going and maybe some letters from the grandchildren and cards from time to time and see where that takes you. The chances of getting any reasonable regular contact orders are remote at best and maintaining letters , cards and some photos might calm things down. I would avoid responding to any email that has any abuse or hostility and simply send a letter that you cannot and will not respond to abusive emails and phone calls. If she wants to build a relationship it has to be on your terms and a caring and responsible approach has to be the first step. We only have one side of the story here anyway so the response is in line with what facts are available.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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since posting this my MIL has made contact by phone stating that it was all to hard and she wished no contact after asking if this what she relly wanted and she said yes she sent an emaill to the kids which we read and explained to trhem as she wished she was ringing 24 hours later saying she made a mistake and wish to talk to the children when I asked her why I should stuff around with my childrens emotions she hung up only to ring back 5 mins later asking the same thing she did this at least 1 more time before reverting to threats of legal action by phone and email some of which were sent at 2 in the morning etc. We have since learnt that she has fallen out with her mother and sister who live in the UK, but she flew over before Christmas and when her mother would not apologise to her ( No one quite knows what for) she flew back after 48 hours in the UK. On her return there was more threats of legal action so we ended up having to talk with the kids about what was happening (somewhat sanitised) and how they felt about vistiting her or having her having contact vistits here both were not happy about either options, which have been passed on to the MIL. Before this she was still stating QLD family law gave her many more rights than other states. What applies QLD ,NSW or Federal law ? any answer would help.
Johno22, Qld family law is no different to NSW or any other state of Australia except maybe for WA. WA work under their own legislation, but it follows closely federal law, which is what family law comes under.

In order for the grandmother to take this to court, she would need to initiate mediation.

If she were to initate mediation, then in my opinion, and that is just my opinion, it would probably serve you well to attend. Mediation is just that, it is an opportunity for both parties to come to the table, discuss the issue at hand, and potentially come up with a solution that is acceptable to both parties.

She can threaten legal action all she likes, but until she actually does something about it, then it seems as though these are hollow threats. If she does initiate mediation, then come up with a plan that is acceptable for you as the parents.
 The Family Law Act is Commonwealth legislation. It applies equally in all State and Territory jursidictions, except for Western Australia where they have a hybrid version as they have not yet referred these powers to the commonwealth.

Grandparents are able to apply for parenting orders. Any Order the Court might consider must be in the childrens best interests.

A mediation would be required before she could apply, because on the information you have provided I can't see that she would qualify for one of the exemptions. In your case a telephone hook up through unifam or relationships australia might be the way to go.

Migraines affect different people differently. Here in sydney I know of people requiring regular hospitalisation to treat migraines. The anxiety around them causes considerable stress quite apart  from the actual distress of the migraine. She is probably coming from the right place but using the wrong methods to communicate. Slow and steady wins the race I suggest - a few phone calls, emails, etc..from the kids intiated by you is all that may be required to diffuse the situation.
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