Twice last year, my mother threatened my husband with a lawsuit for grandparent visitation. After the first time, he was actually getting worried about it, so I did some research into our state's laws/precedents and what I found was that if an adult does not want his/her parents to see his/her children, it isn't going to happen in our state. The "grandparents' rights" suits that are successful generally occur when a husband and wife divorce and one of them wants to prevent the OTHER one's parents from seeing the children. In our case, I am preventing my own parents from seeing my children, and the courts can't do a damned thing about it. I showed my husband the state laws and legal precedents; he felt relieved.
When my mother threatened my husband again - she gave him a week to make a decision: either find a way for her to see the kids, or she and my father would go see a lawyer and sue us - he told her that she didn't have legal standing. She didn't get what she wanted. If she made good on her threat and saw a lawyer, the lawyer must have told her the same thing that my husband did: no standing, sister. Too bad, so sad.
I went fully NC with my parents shortly after that, and in my email to them, I let them know that I was aware of her ultimatum, and I called it what it was, a manipulative threat.
You have recently threatened legal action against [my husband] and myself. I do not believe that you have legal standing in the state of [our state] to do this. Should you choose to pursue this route, I would like you to consider that the time, emotional impact, and financial toll of litigation would not be in the best interests of your grandchildren. I would also like you to consider that threatening legal action as a way to encourage compliance with your wishes is extortion, reflective of the very dynamic from which I wish to distance myself.It's my belief that any lawyer worth his or her salt wouldn't touch a case like this. I haven't heard anything from my parents about suing us since my husband and I called them on their bluff. We considered consulting a lawyer but ultimately decided that we would not be manipulated by fear into spending money on legal services. Of course, IF my mother ever actually files a suit against us, we will work with a good family lawyer (several friends gave me references). But I'm not going to go throw all my money at a lawyer every time my mother pulls a jerk move. I have better things to do with my time and money than run around worrying about the tantrums of a madwoman. In situations like this my mantra is "don't bleed until you're cut" - don't freak out about litigation unless it's actually happening.
I'm still not sure if she was actually planning to sue. I think she was hoping that we would be scared by her threat and that we would give her what she wants. Stupid move on her part.
(If you are a member of the Out of the Fog message boards, you may recognize parts of this post. I copied it from my original post there, made under my OOTF username, Mokey.)