Grandmother must include all children in access visits

Woman tells court her mother did not want to see baby because of infant’s ‘different colour’

The judge at a District Family Court  advised the  parties to consider mediation. “Life is short,” she said. File photograph: Getty Images

The judge at a District Family Court advised the parties to consider mediation. “Life is short,” she said. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A grandmother was granted access to her grandchildren at a District Family Court on Tuesday, on condition she included the youngest child, described in court as “a different colour”.

The grandmother had applied to have access four times a year to all of her daughter’s children, except the youngest.

The court heard the father of all the children except the youngest had no objection to access, but the children’s mother was against it. The two are divorced.

The judge was told the grandmother and her daughter were estranged after a heated row related to the daughter’s new partner.

“I’ve no problem with who she’s with, what his colour is, what his religion is; they are human beings like everyone else,” the grandmother said.

She outlined how much support she had given her daughter before their estrangement. She also told the judge the profession of one of her other children and said “this daughter”, in court, “sadly didn’t fulfil my wishes”.

Crying, she told the court she loved her grandchildren and her daughter knew that. She said she would introduce herself to the youngest child when she was ready, when the child was older.

She also accused her daughter of trying to force her to see the baby and her new partner.

Estranged

Giving evidence, the children’s mother said she was estranged from her mother, and from her siblings.

She said there had been a row and things were said in the heat of the moment that should not have been said.

She tried everything to make up, including telephoning and sending flowers, but her mother was not ready to forgive her. She said she loved her mother, and didn’t want to cause her distress, but was objecting to access because she did not want her youngest child excluded.

“It’s only that the baby is a different colour,” she said. Her children had asked about it.

“They ask ‘Why does Nana not want to see the baby?’,” the mother told the court, adding that the children wondered if it was because the baby is “different”.

The judge ruled that if the grandmother wanted to see the children, she would see all of the children.

“That’s no problem,” the grandmother responded.

The judge also advised both parties to consider mediation.

“Life is short,” she said.

In a separate case, the judge refused a domestic violence safety order to a woman against her husband. The woman had complained her husband broke a beautiful watch she had bought him “into bits”, that he locked the door of his “man den” on her and banged doors, and that he had broken the latch on the front gate.

“He gets very, very angry,” she said.

Sister visiting

She also said he had issues with her family visiting her and had taken her mobile phone.

She said she had suffered a serious illness and her sister had visited the house a lot at the time, but only visited once a week now, as did her brother.

She said her sister had never been anything but kind to her husband.

“She bought him a lovely jumper at Christmas-time,” she said.

Giving evidence, the husband denied banging or locking doors or breaking the watch. He said the strap broke. He also said the wind caught the latch on the gate. He picked up his wife’s mobile phone to give it to her, to discuss a text on it, but she wouldn’t take it, he told the court. He complained his sister-in-law had “more influence” and said he had married his wife, not her. He said she had a key to the house in the past.

“I came home from work and there was [sister-in-law] putting away my clothes and going through the bills as well,” he said.

The judge said the couple’s difficulties were not a domestic violence issue. She advised them to seek mediation.