By Kathy Mitchell
and Marcy Sugar
Dear Annie: Six months after my daughter married, her husband was arrested twice. Each time, he called from jail and begged me to pay bail and then legal fees, promising to pay me back when he got out.
My daughter stuck by him through seven years of prison. Now, 15 years later, he has started a business and fathered my only grandchild. We had a great family relationship, taking vacations together, etc. He began repaying the money he owed me, but suddenly stopped. Instead, he bought an expensive new car and two new iPhones and took his wife and son on a four-week vacation.
I sent him an e-mail asking why he stopped making payments. He phoned and told me he would never send another cent, that I was no longer welcome in his home and that he would never allow me to see my grandchild. My daughter has gone along with everything he says. I haven’t seen my grandchild in six months.
I hired an attorney, who got a judge to order mediation, but my son-in-law walked out of the session. Now he has hired an attorney who is stalling. The next court date isn’t for another four months.
This is no small amount of money, Annie. It’s more than $40,000. I would like to see my grandchild, but there are no grandparents’ rights in this state. My daughter, with whom I used to have a close relationship, won’t speak to me.How do I see my grandchild?
Dear Grandmother: It is terribly sad when parents use the children to blackmail the grandparents. Since your state does not offer the opportunity to petition for visitation, there isn’t much you can do except try to reconcile with your daughter — a scenario that seems unlikely with a lawsuit pending. You can find emotional support through AARP (aarp.org), which has chat rooms for grandparents in your situation.