In this week’s episode of The Corrine Barraclough Show, I read out a message from a heartbroken alienated grandmother.
I’m one of thousands of grandmothers who suffer the grief of our son’s alienation from their beloved children. My story is similar to many thousands of grandmothers suffering the injustice of the family courts system.
My son was introduced to this lady by my daughter in law. She already had a little boy from a previous relationship. This little boy rarely saw his father. My son attempted to be a surrogate father to him… I live three hours drive away and wasn’t aware of everything that was going on, although I knew my son was unhappy.
My grandson was born in 2011, things deteriorated and by the time my grandson was three years old, when attempts at getting my son to assault her physically failed, she made false allegations about my son to the police who promptly arrested him and issued a DVO against him.
This was when my husband and I had to spend our own money in order to defend my son with a solicitor… We’re on the old age pension, he was given nine months probation, the solicitor offered to fight this for free but my son was in such shock, he wanted the matter dropped.
The woman left the home with the children. My son used to go around to her house (he had a key to let himself in) every day after work for five years to look after his son till he went to bed. He put up with her verbal abuse, day after day, in order to see his son. She even used to verbally abuse my grandson apparently saying, “you’re so like your father!’
My son taught my grandson his letters and numbers, he was doing very well at a young age and there was a deep attachment between father and son. He paid all expenses relating to the child, paid for her groceries, paid a $30,000 credit card debt she had accumulated, fixed her families cars, fix their houses, gardens, even did housework for her family members.
My son, being a teacher, used to look after his son at his house, during school holidays and alternate weekends with the child staying overnight. He never once wet the bed at my son’s house but did frequently at his mother’s. My grandson is now nine years old. My husband and I could only see our grandson during the school holidays at my son’s house, as there was always an excuse as to why we could not see him…
This all came crashing down when my son recently informed the mother out of courtesy, that he had met someone else.
She went ballistic.
She tried to have my son arrested six times over a ten-day period, on false allegations. It became so bad my son had to enlist the help of one of her sisters who is a police inspector to stop the harassment. She even tried to get him sacked from his job. She ruined my son’s relationship with the new woman, hounding her until she believed her lies and left my son.
She also refused to let my son see his child saying that he was too scared to see daddy. From seeing my grandson daily to being alienated was – and is – excruciating. My son tried everything to mediate a solution to no avail.
I had to again pay for a letter to be sent to her legal aid paid solicitor to inform her solicitor of the truth. He tried mediation three times with no success.
She even reduced her work hours in order to claim extra maintenance.
Doc arranged for ‘supervised visits’, one visit happened and the supervisor and staff could clearly see the affection between father and son. They suggested that my son subpoena the records for court action, his solicitor informed him that costs would be in the vicinity of $30-80 thousand dollars and in his opinion there was little chance she would compile with court orders.
Again, I had to pay for legal advice from my pension.
My husband and I recently moved closer to the family when I found my son was literally starving as he is paying huge maintenance and trying to keep his mortgage and bills paid. His friends were feeding him. I am now feeding him on my pension.
I have another grandson, who cries because he can’t see his cousin, how do you explain to a young child the behaviour of alienating adults?
This is only a very minute portion of this woman’s activities, the viciousness has stunned me. I can’t comprehend that someone can get away with this behaviour, all sanctioned by the family law courts. I don’t sleep at nights with the sadness and the grief of watching my son grieve, day after day.
I’m presently making attempts to see and be part of my grandson’s life, I fully expect her to attempt and succeed in getting an AVO against me, I am terrified.
I also recently found out that my grandson has ‘changed his surname’. This upsets me very much.
I simply can’t write anymore, regards…”
This is the reality of the destructiveness of our broken Family Law system.
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Corrine Barraclough has a journalism career spanning 20 years, including senior positions at national magazines in London, New York & Sydney. She embraced the whirlwind of celebrity and entertainment journalism and the heady lifestyle that went with it before walking away from it all to live on the Gold Coast and pursue a balanced life.
The Corrine Barraclough Show discusses family law, its impact on mental health and the damage of the gender-bias in mainstream media.