Sunday 18 September 2016 by Rob Hearn

Grandmother recognises parental rights of son-in-law

grandmother recognises rights of son in law

In a landmark case, a mother-in-law in Gloucestershire has reluctantly agreed in principle to give her daughter’s husband limited decision-making powers in the raising of his child.

Rona Matthews, a retired checkout operator, made the unprecedented concession following a dispute with her son-in-law Simon Williams – who is happily married to her daughter Jenny – concerning her granddaughter’s lunch.

The dispute occurred after Mrs Matthews “popped in” for the four hundred and eighty-first day in a row to make sure that Williams was coping while his wife was at work.

During the visit, Mrs Matthews insisted that her granddaughter was undernourished and should eat a banana, while Williams repeatedly indicated that his daughter was allergic to bananas.

After returning from hospital, the family held an emergency summit at which Mrs Matthews reluctantly agreed that her son-in-law should occasionally be able to decide what his daughter eats – though Mrs Matthews will retain a full veto over what the child wears and thinks.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Williams, a consultant paediatrician who has taken a five-year sabbatical to raise his child.

“It’s truly humbling to know that I am among the first sons-in-law to be recognised as not entirely – albeit still largely – useless.”

However, despite the historic nature of Mrs Matthews’ concession, legal experts warn that it is unlikely to have a significant positive effect on the conditions of the estimated 20 million sons-in-law in the UK today, who remain entirely useless in common law.

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