Readers weigh in on the fight for parental rights
Dear Readers: A great many of you wrote in with wonderful suggestions for the father and stressed-out grandma who are having trouble with his ex-wife because she is making visitation with the kids difficult if not impossible. Thank you for your recommendations. I hope they allow the children’s father to have more quality time with his children. Below are some of the letters.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Stressed-out Grandma.” I was in a similar situation with my ex-husband, except he was the one controlling the visitation. He always had someplace to take the kids, or they were with friends when it was my weekend.
Grandma’s son definitely needs a different attorney, one who can step up to the plate. Her son should also be documenting everything. In my case, the judge ordered that we all go separately to the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau.
My children at that time were 6 and 9, and they are now 37 and 40. People always comment that my children turned out so great and successful in spite of their dad’s manipulative behavior.
Grandma, legally you have grandparents’ rights, too. You have a long road ahead of you, but believe me, in the end, what goes around comes around. I know. — Don’t Give Up
Dear Annie: “Stressed-out Grandma” could have been written by me. Please encourage your son to get a new lawyer, one who specializes in family law. Many areas have parental alienation laws. He has the recordings and should keep all emails and texts.
The next time he is refused visitation, he can call the police. His ex-wife is in contempt of court, and this can be considered kidnapping. Unfortunately, my son had to resort to this.
He has to stand up to the bullying of his ex-wife and mother-in-law. This situation is harmful to the children. They are being denied their rights to have their father in their lives. — Been There
Dear Annie: If their son does nothing, it will only get worse. His lawyer needs to let the judge know that the visitation schedule is not being followed. It may also be possible to get a court-appointed advocate for the children, and the state might have grandparents’ rights. The grandparents can get an attorney and be granted visitation rights.
These children need a relationship with their father, and he wants it. Under no circumstances should this father simply wait until his children turn 18. — Rely on the Law
Dear Annie: Your advice to the grandma was spot on. But assuming that there is more to the story, a good mediator might help these two (without the ex’s mom) quell the flames better than another lawyer. As a mediator turned settlement judge mediator for 25 years, I saw thousands of these disputes resolved through talking rather than litigating. And compliance was far higher than court-imposed “solutions.” In addition, a mediator can include as many other “interested persons” as are necessary to reduce the conflict. — Retired Judge
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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.