“I have not spoken to my parents in 2 years. They made a lot of statements that they were going to take my oldest son, who just turned 15, away (kidnap him) to Tennessee. We live in Georgia. I have written emails and made verbal requests for them to leave me, my husband and both children alone. They continue to send letters, cards, show up at games and practice, and this weekend they took out an ad for his birthday in the local newspaper. What would be the best action for me to take to get them out our lives forever? ”
Generally speaking, grandparents do not have the right to visit grandchildren if both biological parents of an intact family agree that they shouldn’t. It may be possible for you to get a restraining order to keep your parents away from you and your family, particularly if there is a true risk of danger. However, if you haven’t spoken to your parents in two years, we assume any threats were made more than two years ago and it may now be too late to file. You’ll need to consult a Georgia lawyer to be sure.
The lawyer will want to know the answers to some questions: how serious was the threat to kidnap your son? Were they planning to move to a secret location and hide out for the rest of their lives? Or just planning to pick him up and take him home with them? Did they threaten to take him because they were concerned for his safety or well-being? If so, was their concern justified? Did either of your parents ever assault you or a member of your family? What past and present relationship has your son had with his grandparents?
More importantly, does your son want to see his grandparents? (If they’re showing up at games, someone is apparently in communication with them.) In three years, he will be an adult and will have that choice without your legal control. If he is close to them and wants to see them, your actions may end up driving a wedge in your relationship with your son. You’re also setting the stage for your son to cut you off the way you’ve cut your parents off. Perhaps it would make sense for you to provide a strong role model about how to resolve seemingly intractable conflicts in families. If so, you might want to call in a family therapist to sit down and work out these issues in your family. If you can’t get the whole family to attend together, perhaps you could start alone. In conflict, it takes at least two to tango and knowing and addressing your part in the conflict will help you address this issue.