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Summary: On the webcam we heard my MIL discuss family business with two convicted felons that we forbid her to continue her association with. She told us that a restraining order would not be necessary. Should we now do it anyway or is there another solution?


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My MIL is 87 and lives in a property in Florida owned by my husband and I. We had an agreement that we would live in the property when we retired. She has lived in the property for 20 years. My husband and I lived in Texas and he retired two years ago. Over the years she has hired people and aligned herself with “friends” that she considers her “support system.” She has made questionable choices. We were unable to live in the house with her when we retired because of her Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We bought another house in the same town for my husband and I to live in. In the two years we have been here: we evicted the drug-using grandaughter, fired her “friend” that was maintaining the lawn, and forbid her “friends” that are convicted felons from coming to the house. All of which she agreed to. We wanted to have a restraining order but she said that it wasn’t necessary. She recently took a trip to Ohio to visit family and we were able to catch up on maintenance that she prevented us doing because she claimed it had been done. We told her that while she was gone we were going to put an extra webcam in the house so we can watch it from our house. She returned from her trip and we hadn’t removed the webcam yet. The day after she returned, we saw the two convicted felon “friends” drive up and get invited in. They were there a little over an hour and left with a bag of food. The webcam was inside the house so we were able to hear some of the conversation. We heard her discussing family business with them. Should we go ahead and begin the restraining order process or is there another solution?

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I'm very glad to hear the news. Definitely the best way to go for you! Yours, Margaret
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Not sure about the restraining order, which is usually to protect the person who applies for it. It can cover an area used by a person, but it doesn't protect a house. My guess is that your MIL would need to make or support the application for it, unless you are looking at guardianship so that you can make the decision for her. If MIL would support it, she could probably get rid of the people anyway.

If you can't trust her, perhaps you need to precipitate a crisis. At the moment by providing her with a house, you are facilitating this. If it happens again and you ask her to leave the house, what will be her options? Perhaps she will move into a high-end assisted living facility, which might solve the problem by providing more supervision. If you think that she is also into drugs (and it may be a possibility) perhaps involving the law is another way to go. It sounds as though MIL is a very difficult woman, and you are feeling that you have been taken for a sucker.

Best wishes in a very awkward situation.
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InTheMiddle77 Sep 28, 2018
Thank you for explaining the restraining order. You are right, it wouldn't work in this situation because she probably lied to us and continued her association with them. And it's true that we can't trust her. And she has been on opiods for back pain for about 8 years. And we do feel taken advantage of. But, since I wrote this things have changed and she is making plans to move in with family in Ohio and she will be supervised.
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Unless your MIL is incompetent I think what you are doing is illegal. Even though the house is yours, she has lived there for 20 yrs. If she paid rent or not, its her home and I think its illegal to put a video cam in the house. You cannot tell her what or what not to do. Better check with a lawyer what your rights are.
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MargaretMcKen Sep 27, 2018
They told her they were putting the webcam in, so I don't think it could be illegal.
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NPD does not mean incompetence and if she is still competent to live on her own, as CWillie says, there isn’t much you can do. Does she pay rent? Then she is a tenant and can be evicted. I would assure her that if she keeps associating with these people (and you will be watching on the webcam) then you’ll have to ask her to move out. Personally, when your husband retired, I would have found her an apartment close by and, as planned, moved into the house.

It goes without saying that you leave NONE of your personal information or records in that house, not even a utility bill. You do not discuss personal business with her because obviously what goes in her ear comes out her mouth.

A restraining order will allow you to call the police if you spot these people in your home and have them arrested but, there is no age limitation on going to jail. If she’s caught with these people in the home and they’re bringing drugs in, she could be arrested as well as them for harboring a felon. If any of them has active warrants out on them, she could be arrested for aiding and abetting. Does she understand that?
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A restraining order is just a piece of paper, it can't prevent her from talking on line or meeting these people if she chooses to ignore it. And I question whether you actually have legal grounds to keep them apart, if she is able to live and travel on her own then unfortunately she is capable of choosing her own friends and making her own bad decisions.
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k12144 Sep 27, 2018
And this is a difficult one as well, because if she is discussing family business with these people, which includes giving your personal information, it's not just "her" bad decision... or, at least, it doesn't just affect her, so it's harder to write off as "she just needs to make her own mistakes."

InTheMiddle77, are these friends actually taking advantage of her that you know of (besides the granddaughter you had to evict), or are you just afraid they will?
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