when grandparents make threats


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.)


  1. Great Post! I've noted the frequency with which these Narcparents threaten legal action regarding the grandkids and unfortunately the threat alone is enough to leave the Adult Kid quaking instead of getting the legal facts FIRST. Overall if they have the financial resources (my narcmother DID) they are a litigious, nasty bunch until they run out of attorneys who will no longer take on "Hopeless Cases" in an effort to inflate their $$ bottom line.

    Anyone can make any kind of allegations they want; it's just the way it is, yk? However, it's IMO so indicative of how these narcparents operate. They are bound and determined they're gonna get your attention one way or another and just like a small child even negative attention is better than none (the natural outgrowth of their behavior which resulted in terminating the relationship.)

    Truth is they don't have any genuine love/interest in the grand(s) in any event. The kids are simply another tool for them to use to engage in retribution for our decision: If they're too dangerous for us, they're too dangerous for our kids. Period, the end. As parents we don't get "do-overs" when we've consistently abused/maltreated our own kids. And our kids are not gonna be party to this insanity-EVER. We're breaking the cycle and brokering no further discussion of that decision.

    Good for you for refusing to engage. I know my own personal bias enters here as well as I was unwilling to throw good money at my "fears" rather than reality-like the mortgage, groceries etc. However, if she does attempt to bring this threat to fruition I do believe there are legal provisions which will compel the Complainant to be held responsible for the legal fees of the Defendant in view of the spurious nature of the legal action.....might be another reason to give the narcparent(s) cause to pause....

    When I read posts like this one the same phrase repeats in my mind regarding the Adult Child: "Who loves ya baby?" (read with appropriate sarcasm!) "Good on YOU," Claire for refusing to cower in the face of this blow-hard bytch.