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Grandparents rights


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#1 enougfhalready

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:02 AM

We live in New York and my husband and I have not seen nor have we spoken to his family (mom, dad, sister and brother) in 3 1/2 years. This is due to an issue my husband had with his brother that blew up after we made numerous attempts to rectify - basically they decided to cut us out of their lives. The relationship we did have with them was toxic at best; they are not honest people and would lie to us about everything. They never spent holidays with us or our children, choosing instead to spend them with my sister in law and her children; they were never really involved with our kids always putting my sister in laws kids first. We have 3 children, 11, 8 and 4...needless to say they would not know our youngest if they passed him on the street. They have not made any attempt to see how our children are and only send cards on holidays. This past Halloween, we decided that we did not want to accept any more cards and when we received them we sent them back. It is too much of a roller coaster to explain to our kids why they do not see them after so much time has passed, and honestly sending cards does not make you a grandparent. Our 11 year old is from my Husband first marriage and lives with her Mom. My In-laws decided three years ago to send her cards and gifts to her mom’s house and my in laws calls my husband ex-wife to arrange to see his daughter, not ever making an attempt to see our other two children.

Now, after my In-laws got the cards that were returned, they left us a message saying if we continued to return cards and gifts they would take legal action. We just returned another card today, so I expect something will happen....I have a few questions as this has become extremely stressful for us, but more for my husband, this is opening up old wounds for him just as he was starting to be ok with the situation:

1. Do they have any right to visitation even though they have no relationship with our children?
2. Can we stop them from sending cards and gifts for our daughter at my husband’s ex-wife’s ( we feel all of our kids should be raised the same way)
3. Can we stop visitation with my in-laws that goes through the ex.

Thank You!!!

#2 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:31 AM

1. They have no right to visitation until such time as a court orders it. The chances of them winning visitation in the face of opposition from the parents is pretty low considering that the U.S. Supreme Court set down a rule that generally the decision of fit parents regarding visitation with their children is presumed to be in the child’s best interest. Moreover, the lack of involvement by the in-laws for over 3½ years would work against them even without that Supreme Court decision.

2. No.

3. If the ex lets the grandparents visit the kids on her time, that’s her right. Barring proof that these folks pose an imminent risk of physical or severe emotional harm, getting a court to issue an injunction against their visits would likely be an uphill battle, but your husband ought to ask a NY family law attorney about it.

#3 Ted_from_Texas

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:31 AM

1 No. When a child's parents are married and living together, they have paramount authority to determine who can and cannot visit the child -- including grandparents and other relatives. When a child's parents are living apart, the parent who has possession of the child at the time gets to say who visits, assuming there's no court order that says otherwise. The grandparents themselves have no intrinsic "right" to visit at any time, except under highly unusual circumstances. There's nothing in your brief message to indicate such circumstances exist in this case.

2. No. If your husband's ex chooses to receive the cards and gifts that's her right, and your husband cannot veto or otherwise interfere with her choice.

3. No. See 1 above.

Query why you continue to insist on returning the cards and gifts you receive after you've made it clear you don't want them, rather than simply throwing them away. Are you looking for a confrontation?

#4 enougfhalready

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:38 AM

Thank you for your responses.That is just what I thought as well, but with the threat of legal action I just wanted another opinion.

Ted, throwing away the cards would be the easiest solution for us as well, however they sometimes include cash or bonds for the kids, we do not want to open them so we return to sender...

#5 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:46 AM

To learn more about this subject matter, you may wish to visit the Family Law Center and read Grandparent Rights as a good resource.

#6 Ted_from_Texas

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

If the gifts are addressed to you and/or your children, you have every right to open them. Why not divert the gifts to a charity you approve of and which your in-laws do not, and send them a nice card in the name of the charity thanking them for their support...?

#7 enougfhalready

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:01 AM

Love that idea Ted, but I do not want to stir the pot (we also can't give a bond to charity that is in the kids name) just really want to put and end to this so the anxiety will go away and my husband can move on. Maybe if we keep returning the gifts they will see a laywer and hear first hand they do not have a leg to stand on. I am hopeful, but in all honesty they are ver vindictive and I wouldn't put anything past them...




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