Grandma frustrated with deadbeat son

Grandma frustrated with deadbeat son

Margarette MACAULAY

Monday, January 25, 2021

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Dear Mrs Macaulay,
I am a grandmother who is raising my son's daughter. She was placed with me through the Child Development Agency (CDA), and the judge told him to give me $3,000 per week. After a while I started to have problems with him doing his duty. The Government gives her $16,000 every two months.

I try to keep a record of my son's payments. I call him, but I never see him or hear from him. The caseworker for the child tried to call him, but he did not answer his phone. I was not at home on the December 23, 2020 and when I came home I saw him. I tried to talk to him but he did not answer me, and he left without saying a word to me. What he did was buy food stuff with whatever money he had. The child is 15, and I have had her most of her life. What can I do?

What you have written about is very sad and such a worry for you. It seems obvious that you love your granddaughter but your son's attitude and behaviour is making it a burden. The monetary provision being provided is certainly not in any way enough to provide even the most basic necessities for your granddaughter. Your son's failure to provide the $3000 the judge told him to give to help towards your grandchild's expenses adds great burdens and worries on you.

You did not state in your letter how your how your granddaughter came to be a subject of the CDA's attention and you also did not say how the matter came to be dealt with by a judge, and whether the $3000 per week was an order of the court in the course of a case or whether the case was completed and the orders were that you had care and control of your granddaughter and that your son was to provide $3000 per week for her maintenance. But for how long? You also do not mention anything about her educational, medical, dental and optical expenses. How are these provided, and by whom? Then most important of all, who has legal custody of your granddaughter?

Anyway, you have stated your son's neglectful behaviour. The fact that he brought her some food stuff in December gives me a bit of hope that he feels something for his daughter. It is, however, not enough, because his daughter needs to have a relationship with him. This is so important for her emotional development. His behaviour on that day of not answering or talking with you is very odd. It is almost as if he is angry with you, when he should be very grateful to you for caring for his child.

So what should you do? I am surprised that your granddaughter's caseworker has not ensured that the matter goes back to the court. This must be done, and there you must first deal with your son's disobedience of the order of the judge for maintenance. You should be open with the court and say whether you can, in fact, provide what your granddaughter needs with just that sum per week and the Government's money. Then you must ask the court to consider that the child is growing and getting older and so it costs more each month to provide even just food for her without taking into account clothing, footwear and other necessities. So ask that an increase should be considered.

Then, I suggest whether the sum is increased or not, that you ask the judge to order him to pay the money into the court, instead of directly to you.

Then, I suggest you tell the judge about his strange behaviour in not answering your phone calls, his not answering or talking to you in December, and his spending no time with his daughter also, and then ask for the judge to order him to go for counselling. You and his daughter should also have some counselling, because this may help to identify what his problem is and that there may then be hope of a change for the better for you, your granddaughter and your son.

So please, do what you should have done from your son started not doing what the judge said he should for his daughter – that is, go back to the court to deal with this and rectify the position.

I hope you do so immediately, so that you can lessen the stress on yourself and make your granddaughter's life better.

All the very best to you all.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.


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