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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 38901
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Before the birth of our 3 mos old daughter,my husband and I

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Before the birth of our 3 mos old daughter,my husband and I decided that we did not want my parents to have contact with our new family. This was due to the fact that my mother is a physically, verbally and emotionally abusive person. There is a long history of abuse on her part towards not only myself but also towards my younger siblings and my father, who is blind. There is a history of abandonment, kidnapping, drug and alcohol abuse. We had stated before the baby was born that if there were to be any hope of a relationship between any of us, they needed to get help-including family counseling with our pastor. They initially agreed (before the baby was born this past Sept.), but then decided that keeping their dirty laundry from the pastor was more important to them,and backed out. Now she is threatening court action, citing "grandparent's rights". They have never seen our daughter and contact has been kept to sporadic harrassing e-mails from my mother. Need we worry about this?

Parents in an intact marriage have nearly absolute control over who can and cannot visit with the parents' minor child(ren). Your mother can petition the court for visitation, but as long as you and your spouse are unitied against her, there is very little that the court could do -- unless your mother produces evidence that the child will suffer some substantial injury were visitation not granted. This is a nearly insurmountable burden, especially for a parent who does not already have an established relationship with the child.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My mother has never had any qualms about lying to get what she wants. She would not hesitate to stoop to lying to a judge to try to make it look as if we are unfit parents. As long as there is no history of drinking, smoking, drugs, abuse of any kind with my husband and I- should we be concerned about this? I realize people can say whatever they want, but as long as there is no truth to it or evidence or history of anything like that, we will be OK, right? She would need to prove what she says, right? She has always been such a bully that this really scares me what she might try to do/say.

The presumption is that you know what's best for your child. A good attorney would raise the argument to the court that you are in an intact marriage, any intrusion by the court requires both a compelling state interest as well as strict scrutiny, and therefore, unless the grandparent produces some "clear and convincing" evidence suggesting that her visitation is in the child's best interests, that the court should dismiss the action forthwith.


What I'm saying is that the issue rises to a question of "fundamental constitutional rights." Judges don't often encounter this sort of thing, but when they do, they are usually loathe to involve themselves, because of the potential media attention. This is the sort of case, where if the judge were to open the case up to an evidentiary hearing, you could go to the ACLU and they would probably be interested in representing you.



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