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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Grandparents Threatening Lawsuit

    I live in Southern Arkansas, I have been married for 15 years. My husband and I have 4 kids and my parents are threatening to sue us for Grandparents Rights or Custody. For years, I have tried to talk to my mother about things she had said to my kids that weren't acceptable. Parental decisions that my parents didn't like, so they would tell our kids that we were terrible for making such choices. Choices as stupid as the clothes my kids wear, hair styles, and even birthday partys! 'She would blow up at me, tell me that I am the one in the wrong. I just can't see what I am doing because I am too close to the situation' . They will never admit they have done anything wrong. They are very controlling and don't know how to take no for an answer. When I confronted them for the last time, I told them if things didn't get better, then they wouldn't be visiting the kids. It wasn't good for the kids to be told their parents were stupid or favoring one child over another. Well, it didn't stop. So, I told them don't call or come to my house anymore.
    My mother got very upset. Started saying all kinds of mean and hurtful things about me. She says that I am an unfit mother, and she will just take custody of all my kids. She accused me of being mentally ill, violent, and said my husband mentally abuses me. She says he is the cause of all this. She thinks that it is his fault I am not letting them see our kids. In fact, this is a choice that we made together.
    All this is UNTRUE. I do not want this to go to court, but if it does, it will get ugly. Since my parents have been warned that some of the things being said around my kids were unacceptable and they choice to keep acting the same, why should they be allowed access to my kids? I wouldn't let my kids hang out with other teenagers that did things I didn't approve of. The way I see it, My parents have no right to be saying things and trying to turn our kids against each other or US. I have people that will testify that I am a good mother and that I have not been abused by my husband. We aren't on drugs, and have no criminal records at all. Actually, they say that my mom is the one with an unhealthy 'attatchment' to one of my sons. It is almost as if she thinks, he is her SON. She shows great favoritism towards him, and it isn't fair to the other 3 kids. If I was an unfit mother, during the last 13 years, why didn't she do something before now? Everything is fine as long as I go along with her. But the minute things don't go her way, she goes crazy with accusations.
    We live in our own home. We don't live with them. They did come over to our house, uninvited almost 3 days a week. We also saw them at our sons football games. He is her favorite, so she never misses one of his games. Of course, every visit always ended with her calling up my Aunt, (her sister) to tell her something about me. How I did something that made her mad.
    I tried to have a relationship with them, but it was getting to be too much to handle. I just need some space. I don't need my kids going to their house, to be told how terrible my husband and I are.
    Since the blow up...My mother has made it a point to follow me everywhere. Atleast 2 times a week, she shows up at the grocery store, football practice, or ballet class. They attended my 13 year olds football games and pretend they are the victims. They tell everyone that will listen how nuts I am. She even called my home one day and left 10 messages on the answering machine in 30 mins. Telling me that 'I better pick up the phone', 'I know your there', 'you can't hide from me forever'. My dad has even sat out in his car, by my driveway in the street, for an hour! They are making their point that where ever we go, they will be there too.
    My kids say they understand why meemee and I are in a fight. They know what has been happening isn't right. Just because they are kids, doesn't mean they are stupid. They have seen this constant power struggle for years. They also say they don't want to go to their house to visit.
    My kids are 13, 10, 8, and 5. My question is do they have to go visit my crazy parents? I don't even want to go see them, I sure don't want my kids to be there without me. If she takes me to court for Grandparents Rights...can she win any kind of visitation? If so, what would the visitation be? My kids are busy. We have lots of after school and weekend activities. Nearly every day of the week and weekend is spent at one of my kids events.
    I know she can't get custody. We haven't done anything wrong. She was just trying to scare me. My whole life, she has been the one 'telling me what I will do.' She can't stand that I can make up my own mind and won't do things her way anymore.
    HELP!! I need advice.
    Helpless in Hope, AR.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Grandparents Threatening Lawsuit

    It does not appear that they would qualify for visitation under the Arkansas grandparents' rights statute, as you remain married to the children's father.
    Quote Quoting Arkansas Statutes 9-13-103. - Visitation rights of grandparents when the child is in the custody of a parent.
    (a) For purposes of this section:
    (1) "Child" means a minor under the age of eighteen (18) of whom the custodian has control and who is:
    (A) The grandchild of the petitioner; or

    (B) The great-grandchild of the petitioner;
    (2) "Counseling" means individual counseling, group counseling, or other intervention method;

    (3) "Custodian" means the custodial parent of the child with the authority to grant or deny grandparental visitation;

    (4) "Mediation service" means any formal or informal mediation; and

    (5) "Petitioner" means any individual who may petition for visitation rights under this section.
    (b) A grandparent or great-grandparent may petition a circuit court of this state for reasonable visitation rights with respect to his or her grandchild or grandchildren or great-grandchild or great-grandchildren under this section if:
    (1) The marital relationship between the parents of the child has been severed by death, divorce, or legal separation;

    (2) The child is illegitimate and the petitioner is a maternal grandparent of the illegitimate child; or

    (3) The child is illegitimate, the petitioner is a paternal grandparent of the illegitimate child, and paternity has been established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

    (c)
    (1) There is a rebuttable presumption that a custodian's decision denying or limiting visitation to the petitioner is in the best interest of the child.

    (2) To rebut the presumption, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:
    (A) The petitioner has established a significant and viable relationship with the child for whom he or she is requesting visitation; and

    (B) Visitation with the petitioner is in the best interest of the child.
    (d) To establish a significant and viable relationship with the child, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:
    (1)
    (A) The child resided with the petitioner for at least six (6) consecutive months with or without the current custodian present;

    (B) The petitioner was the caregiver to the child on a regular basis for at least six (6) consecutive months; or

    (C) The petitioner had frequent or regular contact with the child for at least twelve (12) consecutive months; or
    (2) Any other facts that establish that the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child.
    (e) To establish that visitation with the petitioner is in the best interest of the child, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:
    (1) The petitioner has the capacity to give the child love, affection, and guidance;

    (2) The loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child; and

    (3) The petitioner is willing to cooperate with the custodian if visitation with the child is allowed.
    (f)
    (1) An order granting or denying visitation rights to grandparents and great-grandparents shall be in writing and shall state any and all factors considered by the court in its decision to grant or deny visitation under this section.

    (2)
    (A) If the court grants visitation to the petitioner under this section, then the visitation shall be exercised in a manner consistent with all orders regarding custody of or visitation with the child unless the court makes a specific finding otherwise.

    (B) If the court finds that the petitioner's visitation should be restricted or limited in any way, then the court shall include the restrictions or limitations in the order granting visitation.
    (3) An order granting or denying visitation rights under this section is a final order for purposes of appeal.

    (4) After an order granting or denying visitation has been entered under this section, the custodian or petitioner may petition the court for the following:
    (A) Contempt proceedings if one (1) party to the order fails to comply with the order;

    (B) To address the issue of visitation based on a change in circumstances; or

    (C) To address the need to add or modify restrictions or limitations to visitation previously awarded under this section.
    (g)
    (1) A court may order mediation services to resolve a visitation issue under this section if:
    (A) Mediation services are available;

    (B) Both parties agree to participate in mediation services; and

    (C) One (1) or both of the parties agree to pay for mediation services.
    (2) Records, notes, reports, or discussions related to the mediation service shall not be used by the court to determine visitation under this section.
    (h)
    (1) A court may order counseling to address underlying matters surrounding the visitation issue under this section if:
    (A) Counseling is available;

    (B) Both parties agree to participate in counseling; and

    (C) One (1) or both of the parties agree to pay for counseling.
    (2) Records, notes, reports, or discussions related to the counseling shall not be used by the court to determine visitation under this section.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Grandparents Threatening Lawsuit

    Thank you for your reply, and for adding the law there for me to read! I appreciate your help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    central arkansas
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Grandparents Threatening Lawsuit

    That sounds A LOT like my mother...best thing to do is to stick to your guns and let her know that you are the one in control here....not her. The moment a person like that pulls the wool over your eyes and gets some kind of rights under the law...then you are in trouble. There is nothing that she can do...like he posted. Best thing to do is get ready for the worst...however I think that you have nothing to worry about.

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