Dear Savvy Auntie,

My soon-to-be sister-in-law physically attacked me and my younger sister while we holding my 18 month old niece and we had to call the police. My brother's fiancé has serious mental issues but my brother doesn't see it and backs her 100%. It was reported to Child Protective Services and we are not sure what is happening with that.

Now they have cut off all contact with both my sister and me and I’m afraid I will never see my niece again.  I have been a huge part of her life and am very worried about her.  Are there resources or information for aunts seeking visitation rights?  I know I can't get custody, but I can't face the fact of never seeing my niece again. And, and I am very worried about her.
Thanks so much,

Aunt Melissa

Dear Aunt Melissa,

What an upsetting and disturbing situation! Who called Child Protective Services? That person might be able to communicate with them to get more information about your niece. I suggest that you contact a lawyer who specializes in family law to determine your next step. Also, do you know anyone who is in touch with your brother and his wife and child? Perhaps a friend, pediatrician, caregiver or extended family member?

I recommend writing to your brother in a supportive and helpful manner expressing compassion for his situation and his fears for the well being of his little girl. Keep in mind that he may be enabling his fiancé by being ensnared in something he feels lost in.

Lastly, take a deep look at what you and your sister may have contributed to your soon-to-be sister-in-law’s outburst. It is not that you are to blame, but the person you can alter is yourself and it might be only a 1% contribution that you made that can possibly change the ’no contact’ edict.

I don’t have a specific referral, but a good family therapist could be very helpful.

Best of Luck,

 Natalie Robinson Garfield


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