My children return from visits to their maternal grandparents in a bad emotional state. Relations with my former in-laws were never good, but worsened after we divorced, and she got cancer, and died. From what the children tell me, it seems the grandparents are trying to poison my children against me, and constantly challenge my parental authority, in overt and subtle ways. Could the court decide to stop or reduce visits if I apply for this?

Answers

Possibly, as an exception. Rights of grandparents in general, and rights of bereaved grandparents, to contact with their grandchildren exist as long as the meetings between them and the grandchildren are held to be beneficial to the particular children involved and not harmful to them. The court has wide powers allowing it to intervene, restrict, control and even stop contact to protect minors if they are at risk of emotional or physical harm.

Neutral court -appointed professionals can become involved to assess the situation, and make recommendations and the children themselves can be heard. Sometimes the social workers at the court assistance unit can help parties reach 'understandings', and often a welfare report is ordered from the local social services, offering recommendations. In complex cases, the court can appointed a neutral expert -a clinical pyschologist -for an expert opinion.