Saturday, October 12, 2013

Litigation Used as a Threat

I received the court summons on a Saturday. It left me and my husband two days of worry without the ability to seek any sort of legal counsel. We knew we had to get a lawyer and fight this. But we also had so many questions. Could people actually sue for grandparent visitation rights? Could they actually win? How far would this go? And how much was this going to cost us?

It was a dark weekend and it reminded me of an earlier time in my life when I had made appearances in court during my divorce. My parents had been on my side that time. When we were fighting my ex husband, my parents were confident that we would win because they had so much more money than my ex. They would drive him into the ground financially if they had to.

Now they were saying that about me. Their money, their threats, their intimidation alone would drive me into the ground. They would win.

As evidence to their way of thinking, I received a letter in the mail from them the following Monday after they had served me. It refers to seeing a counselor because our relationship had been deteriorating over the prior three years.

The majority of the letter follows:

I received your email and partly agree with your statement, "I think it may be a good idea to get a third party involved--a counselor." I remember talking to you in the past about seeing a counselor and you responded that you'd be willing to participate but that you thought such a counselor would make no difference on our situation.

Mom and I agree with the need to get a third party involved AND that a counselor would not make any difference resolving our situation.

Mom and I have chosen a third party we think can successfully bring this conflict to conclusion. I would like very much for both parties to avoid the emotional and financial expense associated with a lengthy legal proceeding.

I suggest that we meet with a mediator and come up with a permanent visitation schedule both parties can agree upon and then bind us to that schedule legally. Our lawyer is prepared to assist documentation of any such permanent agreement and obtain a court confirmation of such. I would hope that we could do this before any further legal proceedings take place. We have this option available to us.

I love your Brittany and it saddens me greatly that we have been pushed to take such legal action to try and resolve such a severe impasse.

Love, Dad

This letter was another blow, but beside the shock and sadness, I also felt a great deal of anger. Aren't your parents supposed to know you better than anyone else? Had they forgotten about my steel stubborn strength? Did they really think I would cower at this? Had they forgotten how important my son was to me, that I had resented the courts dictating what was best for my child during my divorce eight years ago?

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