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Author Topic: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren  (Read 14235 times)

amy

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grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« on: Jul 25, 2009, 09:16:33 PM »
Our former step-daughter who did not have custody of her 3 and 4 year old  (our son has sole custody of them) is attempting to get custody now.  Our son is missing (we believe into drugs) and we've been raising these children for about 7 months.  Before that he was.  She has moved to a new state, but since they're hers, she's trying to change the custody.  We are letting the kids visit with her every other weekend, but she wants to get custody because our son is now "out of the picture".  We have temporary custody, but she's asking for longer visits.  Do we have any chance of getting permanent custody?


Waylon

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #1 on: Jul 26, 2009, 07:45:07 AM »
Our former step-daughter who did not have custody of her 3 and 4 year old  (our son has sole custody of them) is attempting to get custody now.  Our son is missing (we believe into drugs) and we've been raising these children for about 7 months.  Before that he was.  She has moved to a new state, but since they're hers, she's trying to change the custody.  We are letting the kids visit with her every other weekend, but she wants to get custody because our son is now "out of the picture".  We have temporary custody, but she's asking for longer visits.  Do we have any chance of getting permanent custody?

Changing custody depends on a number of things.
Once custody has been determined, any subsequent changes in the parenting plan must be made with the approval of the court.

If custody hasn't been determined, things get a little murkier.
In general, the biological parents are given preference over all others, but there are lots of other factors. Having a stable 'established custodial environment' can be a key issue- if the parent trying to get custody is unstable in work, residency, or employment, that can often work against them.

This article may or may not apply, but there's a lot of good information in it that might be useful to you:
Defining "Substantial Change In Circumstances"
http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/circumstances.php

(Also, since this is a custody-related issue, I'm going to move this to the Custody Issues forum.)
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MomofTwo

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #2 on: Jul 26, 2009, 10:26:36 AM »
Biological parents rights out weight grandparent rights.
 
You do not legally have custody. You son did and he has abandoned those children.  That didn't give you custody.
 
Many states  do not recgonize grandparents rights, it would be wholly dependent on the state you and the children reside, along with your case evaluation.
 
Since you do not have custody, you would  have to file for it and you and Mom will definitely be heading to court.  You need to consult local counsel.
 
 

ocean

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #3 on: Jul 26, 2009, 10:40:54 AM »
The poster stated she has temporary custody and BM is going for more visitation. Sounds like the courts are letting children stay with grandma until they can figure it out especially since BM is asking for them to be moved out of state.

It will be a hard fight for grandparents to win full custody however what was the reason she didnt have custody to begin with? If the children were left with your son she abandoned them (although that does not mean she gave up her rights)
If mom is capable of raising them now, she should have them BUT you can get grandparent visitation ordered through the courts, especially since your son is not in the picture.

Momfortwo

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #4 on: Jul 27, 2009, 04:27:06 AM »
Given that the father abandoned the kids, the mother is going to get custody unless you can prove that she is a danger to the kids.  And if the mother can prove drug use, the only way the father will be able to see the kids is under supervision. 
 
It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. 


amy

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #5 on: Jul 27, 2009, 05:44:05 AM »
I am resigned to the fact that the BM will eventually get custody.  Right now there is a guardian ad litem involved.  We are now trying a different visitation schedule which gives her longer visits.  She'll take them for a week at a time, and she'll get them every other week. 
It's not an ideal plan in my opinion, but the GAL thought it was the best way to gauge whether she could handle them, and said it was better to find out sooner than later. For the time being she is the responsible party for the transportation.  We'd been doing alternating weekends before now, and this started about a month and a half ago.  She moved to Kentucky at the end of March.
Her boyfriend is now in jail for a drug offense related to meth.  She lives in a house on her dad's property with her most recent baby who is now about 9 months old.  She has two older children from another marriage.  One was adopted by her biological dad but now lives with her ex-step-mother.  Her other child, a boy around 15 years old lives with an ex-in-law. 
I think she's trying to re-connect with those children.
Her dad has hired her to work for his business which is on their property in eastern Kentucky.  It's a lumber mill I think.
Another bit of background information is that we have never disrupted the children's out-of home child care arrangements. Those were created when our son was working and was eligible for childcare benefits from the county in which we live.
The kids were fortunate enough get into a very highly regarded day care/pre-K. facility.  They have absolutely thrived there. They are exposed to all sorts of wonderful programs including swimming lessons.  It is an additional expense for us, but we're managing to afford it, at least for the time being.  We haven't told the center about the latest visitation schedule, but we hope they'll be understanding, because it will affect the continuity of their respective programs.  The eldest child, our grandson will be starting the pre-K program.  He will turn 5 on December 11th.
I am 58 years old and my husband is 70.

snowrose

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #6 on: Jul 27, 2009, 08:44:26 AM »
What happened that caused the children's mother not to get custody originally?

amy

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #7 on: Jul 27, 2009, 08:55:59 PM »
the mom was into drugs.  She didn't show for hearings.  She then went to prison for a while.  Before going in to do her time, she signed a memorandum of agreement which gave custody of the older grandchild to my son.  My son had already been granted custody of my granddaughter in the divorce decree.  This older grandchild, a male, is not my son's biological offspring, and my son wasn't yet yet married to his mother at the time of his birth.  There is no father's name on his birth certificate. So my son, in effect, became Johnathan's "psychological" dad beginning with Johnathan's birth until he was almost 4 years old; at that point my son fell off the wagon.  That's when both kids started living with us, and it'd only been about 1/2 year before that time, that their mom had resumed contact with them after a fairly long hiatus.  We continued with the weekend sleep-over visits (with their mom) which had begun in the middle of July 2008.

snowrose

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #8 on: Jul 27, 2009, 09:07:45 PM »
Neither my husband nor I are the biological parent of SD9, but we got custody of her when BM allowed her BF to abuse SD.  So I can't say that it's impossible that you would get custody when you're the grandparents.  It is possible you could get custody, though the percentages are lower than they would be for a normal parent.
 
One thing in your favor is that you've had the children for 7 months.  Courts prefer keeping the status quo, preferring not to move children around.
 
I like Waylon's answer:
 

Changing custody depends on a number of things.
Once custody has been determined, any subsequent changes in the parenting plan must be made with the approval of the court.

If custody hasn't been determined, things get a little murkier.
In general, the biological parents are given preference over all others, but there are lots of other factors. Having a stable 'established custodial environment' can be a key issue- if the parent trying to get custody is unstable in work, residency, or employment, that can often work against them.

But I would ask one question: is there a reason that you fear the children going to live with their mother?  Do you feel she's stable now?

amy

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Re: grandparents gaining permanent custody of grandchildren
« Reply #9 on: Jul 28, 2009, 06:46:17 AM »
I think she's barely stable; that's how I'd put it.
She's got to work hard at keeping it together.  Our grandchildren are with her as I write this.
She supposedly works out of her home. She answers phone calls and takes orders, etc. for her dad's lumber business is what I've been told.  She's got her 9 month old baby boy there, and now my 2 grandchildren.  I think her younger sister could be there too.  She's on permanent disability because she's mentally impaired and has other health issues too.  Also, their other granddad is probably around too.  He also is on disability.
This is the first week-long visit with her in Kentucky.  Before this, the visits were for weekends.

 

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