When Anne married her husband, Henry, he was a strong and handsome man. He was a little older with children from a previous marriage, but they were very happy and looked forward to long and prosperous retirement watching their respective families and grandchildren grow up and making their way in the world.

But Henry was struck down with Alzheimer's and the whole family was devastated. He had good days and bad, of course, but Anne coped the best she could. But there are many aspects of this frightening and debilitating disease that we don't fully understand yet and one day Henry had a bad day and inexplicably became very violent towards Anne and she had to call the police to protect herself.

The children from Henry's first marriage could not forgive Anne for calling the police on their father and rifts started to appear. The attacks got worse and finally Anne had to concede that she could no longer cope with the unpredictable attacks and violence she was being increasingly subjected to, and reluctantly divorced the man she had loved but could no longer handle.

Henry went into a home and is now cared for by professionals, but his first family have never forgiven her and now she is no longer married to him, the family are refusing her visiting rights and sending back her letters and parcels.

Anne has asked eCourt for an opinion on whether we think this is fair that she should be refused visitation rights while he can still remember who she is.

Henry's first family believe that Anne has let Henry down and deserted him in his hour of need and say she married him for better or for worse. But above all they can't forgive her for calling the police and pressing charges against him. Anne refutes this and claims that Henry's first family don't fully understand the danger she was in as they have not seen him when he is bad and only visit when he is having a reasonably good day.

This is a really horrid situation and one that calls for much leeway, understanding and humanity from all sides brought on by a devastating disease that has a record of tearing even the closest of families apart. Of course, eCourt has no idea, if there are long standing feuds being brought into force here or if there are other factors, like childhood resentments from Anne splitting up their mother and father's first marriage.

All we can do is to deliver as clear and as fair a verdict as we can on the facts that we have been presented with here. First off we would suggest that Anne finds out if Henry still has the legal right to decide if he wants to see her or not. If the power of attorney lies elsewhere then ask and write if they would have any objection if she visited when the rest of the family were not there, or even if they were there if they'd prefer. Secondly they should ask Henry in one of his more lucid moments, if he would actually like you to visit him. If he would, then it would hard for them to argue against his wishes. They should respect that at least, even if they no longer seem to hold you in the same esteem.

Lastly, eCourt would advise that you might seek assistance from one of the charitable foundations like the The Alzheimer's Society Helpline who have trained advisers to provide confidential information, support, guidance and even referrals to other organisations that they think might be more appropriate on any specific issues. You can contact them on the Alzheimer's Helpline on 0845 300 0336 , or email them at: , or visit their website at


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