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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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My sister, after a non-violent confrontation with my parents

Customer Question

My sister, after a non-violent confrontation with my parents filed a restraining order against my parents. The restraining order prevents my parents from seeing their grandchildren.
Every claim that was made on the restraining order was false, she couldn't of proven any of it. Knowing this, as a stall, her lawyer asked for a continuance every chance he could and drew the order out over a year. Once we finally received a court date the order was dropped. By that time she had convinced her ex-husband, who once had a cordial relationship with my parents, that the allegations were true. Now the ex, who once agreed to let my parents see their grandchildren, won't even speak to them.
Her ex-husband was the reason for the argument. He would bring the children to the house to fish and swim. My sister claimed that my parents were choosing him in the divorce and ordered my parents to stop allow him to come out. Once my parents told her to leave she made a verbal threat to take the kids from them and left.
My parents now have no avenue to see their grandchildren who were in their lives for 12+ years. There was a Gaurdian Ad Litem involved in the process and they cleared my parents of any wrong doing.
I want to know if we can bring a harassment suit or any legal recourse against my sister or her ex. The kids still speak with me and we have a good relationship but even that is being strained now because both parents are being uncommunicative. I need to know how to resolve this and protect my parents against these false, and harmful accusations.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, and Thank you for your question,

It truly is unfortunate that your sister is depriving your parents of seeing and spending time with their grandchildren. The grandchildren are also missing out in what could have been a healthy relationship for both the children and your parents. I have seen similar situations many, many times, and although the children and the grandparents are missing out on what should be a healthy, happy relationship, your sister will live to regret her actions because the children will come to realize that it was their mother and father who prevented them from having a close relationship with their grandparents. Unfortunately, by that time, the children will have learned to resent both parents for taking part in not permitting them to have a happy, healthy relationship with their grandparents. But by that time, it will be too late for your sister to do anything about the resentment that her children feel towards her for depriving them of their grandparents.

You have not stated in which State you reside. Many States have enacted "Grandparents' Rights" which permit them to file a Petition on their own for visitation with their grandchildren. But, if things are so strained, maybe it would be better if you helped them prepare this Petition, so that your sister and her former husband do not start an argument with your parents. They really should not be subjected to this at this stage in their lives. Once your parents file the Petition and the Judge enters an Order allowing them visitation with their grandchildren, neither your sister or your former brother in law will be able to prevent your parents from exercising the rights that the Court Order will give them.

Whatever problems your sister has with her former husband, and whatever she mistakenly believes your parents are guilty of, she should not involve her children. They do not deserve to be in the center of the controversy and, as I said, your sister will live to regret her actions when she sees her children moving farther and farther away from her emotionally as they grow older. Parents do not give enough credit to their children. They think that the children do not know what is going on, or who is to blame. Today's children are very much aware of their surroundings and they are able to discern who is right, who is wrong, and who is preventing them from having a healthy relationship with their grandparents.

If I might make a suggestion, I think your time would be better spent in helping your parents file their Grandparents' Petition for Visitation. This way, your sister and former brother in law cannot accuse your parents of trying to turn the children against them. I know this is hardly the case, but from what you have said, neither your sister, nor her former husband are thinking rationally. They certainly are not thinking of what is in the best interests of their children, and they are simply making matters worse for the children and for themselves. Trust me, they will live to regret their actions, but by that time, the children will be justifiably harboring resentment towards them because they deorived them of their relationship with their grandparents. You are doing the best that you can do and you are more concerned about what your sister's children are feeling and suffering than their own parents. So that you do not look like the "bad guy" in bringing any action against your sister and her former husband, concentrate your efforts on your parents' Grandparents' Petition for Visitation. Then, if you feel it is still necessary to file a harassment suit against the parents, go ahead and do so, but at least, you can say that you tried other avenues and left the suit against the parents as a last resort.

Please let me know if I have not Answered your question fully, and I will be glad to explain further,

If I have Answered your question, please be kind enough to leave a positive rating so that JustAnswer will give me credit for assisting you. Positive Feedback and Bonus are very much appreciated,

Kindest Regards,

ANDREA

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We reside in IN, I don't believe that Grandparent's rights exist in this state. I could be wrong but that is the only reason I'm pursuing another avenue. Although I don't believe that filing a suit will result in my parents getting visitations back, I do believe it may deter my sister from manipulating the system in order to use it as punishment.Do we actually have a case or is this going to be yet another case of wasted resources? The last thing I want to do is enter into a suit that will yield no results again. I certainly don't want to give my parents hope, just to see them crushed by the system yet again.
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. Please give me a moment while I doublecheck on grandparents' rights in Indiana and I will return momentarily, Okay ?

ANDREA

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

In Indiana, grandparents have some rights they may pursue, if they feel that access to their grandchildren is being denied by the child's parent(s).

Indiana grandparents can ask a court to order visitation with their grandchild if:

1) the child's parent is deceased; or

2) the child's parents have been divorced

There are other situations where a grandparent can request visitation, but they are not relevant in your circumstances.

The grandparents must file a Petition for Visitation and ask the Court to enter an Order, giving them visitation rights. The Petition should explain that the grandparents had a wonderful relationship with their grandchildren, until the parents of the children started playing one against the other, and in the end, it was the grandchildren that were penalized by prohibiting them from continuing the relationship they always had with their grandparents.

They should also testify that the relationship between the parents has become so strained, but the children are the true victims in all of this and they are the individuals who are missing out by having their relationship with their grandparents severed by their parents. Both you and your parents should testify that because of the animosity between the children’s parents, you believe that a Court Order is necessary in order to permit the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren to resume and maintained.

The court will hold a hearing on the Petition, and the grandparents will need to explain to the court that they have always been involved in the lives of their grandchildren. They will also have to explain the events which occurred in the family which caused an interruption in the relationship they always had with their grandchildren. . Here, it would also be helpful if you testified and told the Judge that the parents of the children are playing one against the other, but in the end, it is the children who suffer and you believe that it would be in the best interests of the children to enter an Order, permitting the grandparents to resume their relationship with their grandchildren and the Court Order is the only way that the parents of the children will allow the children to resume the relationship they always enjoyed with their grandparents. In all matters dealing with children, the Family Court in all 50 States uses the same guidelines - The Court will decide a case based on what will be in the best interests and permanent welfare of the children, and this is what you must stress about visitation and allowing the children to resume spending time with their grandparents. Once an Order for visitation has been entered, if either parent of the children attempts to prevent your parents from exercising their visitation rights, the parents can be held in Contempt of Court which is punishable by up to 6 months incarceration, at the discretion of the Judge. So, the parents should not be so eager to act in such a cavalier manner and deprive your parents of their visitation rights because 6 months in jail is no picnic.

Please let me know if I have not Answered your question fully, and I will be glad to explain further,

If I have Answered your question, please be kind enough to leave a positive rating so that JustAnswer will give me credit for assisting you. Positive Feedback and Bonus are very much appreciated,

Kindest Regards,

ANDREA