Post # 1
I’ve posted before about FIs dad. He is a horrible abusive person who neither of us have spoken to in months and who will not be invited to the wedding.
FSIL has a beautiful daughter who I will call Hope for this post. Now FIs dad never came up to see Hope when she was first born. He kept saying he was coming up one weekend when FI and I would go visit (he lives in Virginia, we live in Queens, FSIL lives in Albany) so he would take the train to us and then we would all drive up together. He would always come up with some excuse and never met her till she was over a year old at FSILs wedding.
Now he is suing her for visitation rights to see his grandchild. He wants to take her to Virginia with him for 2 weeks. This is a child he has met 3 times in her entire life. Plus she is terrified of him. The only reason he is doing this is because FSIL is now speaking to her mother again (they hadn’t spoken in years, due to his manipulative ways).
FSIL is havign a hard time paying her bills. She seperated from her husband and needs help with her bills. FI and I as well as her mother have been helping her make ends meet.
Now she needs a lawyer, and she refuses to get a publc defender. Instead she wants FI and I to use the money in our wedding fund to help her. I don’t mind helping her out with her bills, but this on top of our own bills is really too much. FIs mom is going to help out too but since FI makes the most money, he will have to pay most of it.
If this was the first time, I wouldn’t be upset but FIs family is always asking him for money. His mother, sister, and brother have all borrowed money from him lots of times and he has never been paid back. Now they expect him to pay for everything and I’m annoyed that they haven’t asked me, since it’s also my money in the wedding fund.
I just feel like this will be a never ending cycle. I don’t want FIS dad to get the baby, but I don’t think it’s fair to put all tis pressure on FI, nor do I like that his family just assumes we will give them all of our money.
Am I being a horrible person for feeling like this?
Post # 3
You’re definitely not a horrible person for feeling this way. While helping out family if and when you can is a great thing to do, it’s frustrating to feel like one person is always the source of help…
The thing I’m wondering about is the likelihood of getting grandparent visitation rights for a young child (how old is she?) who he doesn’t have regular contact with. While I definitely don’t know the applicable state laws in this case, it just seems like a long shot that he would even have a realistic chance of succeeding.
Post # 4
I don’t blame you at all for feeling the way you do. You can be supportive but I don’t think you are financially responsible for his sister. On a side note- I’m a public defender and if she qualifies, she should use one rather than representing herself if she can’t afford a private attorney. Also, I practiced family law for a bit before my current job. Your FFIL has no standing to see his grandchild. The only chance he may have in winning some sort of visitation is if his daughter and grandchild have lived with him the past few years or so…
Post # 5
You’re not a horrible person for feeling like you’re being taken advatage of financially by FI’s family – and it should be a joint decision between you and your FI if you have joint finances/joint savings for the wedding – but the bigger issue is the weirdness of this situtation.
Your FFIL has seen this child 3 times. She’s terrified of him. He has apparently been allowed to visit and is now suing for visitation rights? This is so strange. It also sets off some red flags for me. I hope I’m just being paranod. It sounds like (at best) this child is being used as a pawn.
Any family/custody lawyers on here? Can a grandparent really sue for these types of rights/visits in a case like this?
If it were me, I would be doing what I could to help FSIL and her daughter (including helping her find a lawyer), but not necessarily paying for it.
ETA: @Mrs. Cooper, glad someone with some actual knowledge could reply. 🙂
Post # 6
You aren’t a horrible person at all. It is very important to set boundaries with family about borrowing money. Make sure your FI is on board (if he isn’t that’s a whole other discussion!) and tell her that you won’t be able to contribute financially, but you will help in others ways if you can.
Now she needs a lawyer, and she refuses to get a publc defender
Not getting a public defender is a choice that she really doesn’t have the luxury of making. She has access to a lawyer, but wants to use your money to hire a better one? Sorry no, that’s not your responsibility.
Post # 7
This whole thing is ridiculous. I don’t think you’re a horrible person AT ALL. There is literally no reason for FSIL to be hiring an attorney, because I think a public defender could take this case and win blindfolded. As PP have said, the likelihood of the grandfather being granted “visitation rights” when he has shown very little interest in being a part of her life in the first place are very slim. Is NY a state that is sympathetic to the mother? Even more points in her favor.
Post # 8
You are absolutely not a horrible person. If I were in your position, I would be very upset.
I do hope you and your FI make the decisions together. At some point, your needs need to come first. I think it’s very offensive that your in-laws just assume they have access to your savings.
Post # 9
@canuba: FSIL never said her father couldn”t come and visit his grandchild. Her only problem is with him taking her to Virginia for 2 weeks. Even though she is no longer speaking to him because of his manipulation and his actions, he can still visit with his grandchild.
I don’t think he has a legal leg to stand on but he was in court for 15 years with FIs mom fighting for custody and bankrupted her and her parents. I don’t want this to happen to us.
@Mrs. Cooper: Thank you for a little insight. I’ve been reading up on grandparents rights so I don’t think he’ll win but he is the kind of person who won’t quit till he wins.
Post # 10
Thank you all for putting my mind at ease a bit. When FI told me how we had to dip into our wedding fund again to help her, I said ok. When he said it was for a lawyer because she doesn’t want a public defender, I got pissed.You hire a lawyer if you have the money, but that’s the whole point of the public defender. It’s for the people who can’t afford an attorney.
Oh and did I mention the first court date is on my birthday? So not only do FI and I have to take off of work to go up to Albany and have to see his father, which at this point just the thought of him makes me sick, but I get to spend my birthday in court.
Post # 11
@Otaqueen: while i understand this is a heartwrenching situation it is wholly unreasonable to expect you to pay for her lawyer—this case is a joke and a public defender would suit her just fine–I would have a long discussion with my fiance about how we are starting our own family now and can’t be constantly be so involved with the drama of his family—let them fight it out, it’s not his or your concern
Post # 12
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Wait… time out…. you can get a public defender for a civil court case????????? I thought public defenders were only awarded for criminal cases? I am so confused. Why in the world would tax dollars be paying a lawyer for a civil trial?
Post # 13
No you aren’t a horrible person for feeling that way! It doesn’t sound like that case is one that requires a super expensive attorney. Besides, a lot of the public defenders are a lot better at what they do then the hourly attorneys that aren’t outrageously expensive.
I’m a little confused about how she can get a public defender for a visitation case, but if she can more power to her.
Post # 14
@lovekiss: You can in ontario.
Post # 15
@lovekiss: I have no idea. The court papers said that she could apply for a public defender if she can’t afford an attorney, so I assume she can get one.
Post # 16
I wouldn’t give anyone a penny. It’s not your (or your FI’s) responsibility to bail them out of their messes. If you ask me, you’ve helped enough. That money is intended for your wedding, nothing else. Maybe I’m insensitive since I’m an only child and I don’t understand the sibling dynamic but putting myself in your situation while DH has a brother, I wouldn’t sacrifice something as important as my wedding to give him money. Your FIL will never win his case so spending the money on an expensive lawyer is useless. Your niece hardly knows him and she’s afraid of him. No judge in their right mind would allow him to take her from her mother for an extended period of time. That’s just crazy. She should get a public defender or just defend herself. I really see no plausible way that she could lose the case. Grandparent rights are bullshit if you ask me. It’s not their kid and they have no right to them.