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.
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