My daughter has had a drug problem for a while. She and her two children moved in with me last year while she did her best to stay clean. Recently her ex took her back to court and got full custody and the kids had to move to a new school system two towns over.
My daughter now only has three hours of supervised visitation each week. They made me the supervisor, which is fine. I asked the father if he would allow the children to spend more time with me. After all, they lived with me for a year during her parenting time and I miss them terribly. I know they miss me too. He said no.
Do I have any recourse?
You can file a complaint to establish grandparent visitation. These are not easy to win over a parent’s objection, however. There is a presumption that the parent’s decision about grandparent visitation will stand. But, a grandparent can rebut the presumption by showing that “failure to grant visitation will cause significant harm by adversely affecting the child’s health, safety or welfare.” If you want to read more about it, google the Massachusetts case Blixt v. Blixt.
If you file for grandparent visitation, your complaint will need to be signed under the pains and penalties of perjury and you will need to list out all of the things you have historically done with your grandchildren before and during the time they lived with you. Include as many details as possible to avoid losing a motion to dismiss. Celebrating holidays, spending vacations, taking them out for dinners and lunches, and taking them to lessons has historically not been enough to overcome the presumption that the parent’s decision should stand.
Assuming you did more — especially when the kids lived with you, your verified petition should include the following details. Start with how much parenting time your daughter had. If it was at least half, then detail what you did during your daughter’s time for the kids. How much time was your daughter in charge versus you? Was she off attending NA meetings and seeking treatment? Did she work? If yes, did you work or were you home with the grandkids? Did you schedule and/or take them to medical and dental appointments? Attend parent teacher conferences? Get them to and from school and after-school activities? Help them with homework? Cook meals for them? Pack their school lunches/snacks? Care for them if they were home sick? Did you buy their clothes and wash their laundry? In other words, were you acting as a stand-in parent?
If you did many of these things, you can argue that rather than acting as a grandparent, you were a de facto parent for the children and they will be harmed by now only spending three hours a week with you at a time their world has already been upended.