Can I get custody of my son back?

I'm 20 years old and I gave my mother custody of my son when I was 18. I had my son as the result of a rape and I was alone scared and unprepared. I felt that my mom would do a better job raising him than me but I've matured a lot and I've also been taking care of him financially his whole life I buy everything and pay the daycare bill. I am working in the morning and going to nursing school at night. I still do for him just as I always have and I want custody back. I want to move out of her place soon and I don't want to leave my son behind. She offered him back to me and then resended the offer and left me heart broken. Is it possible for me to get him back if I get a lawyer? Because I believe there's no reason he shouldn't be with me. I've always been here for him and he is now 2.

Trenton, NJ -

Attorney Answers (4)

Mark S Guralnick

Mark S Guralnick

Family Law Attorney - Marlton, NJ
Answered

As the natural, biological mother of the child, you certainly would have legal standing to seek full custody of your son. It sounds like you have many favorable things to offer your son, and that you genuinely seem dedicated to the job of being a good mother. How easy you can take back custody, after turning over custody to you mother, depends on many factors: For example, how did your mother get custody? Was it through a general custody order? Kinship legal guardianship? Adoption? Depending on how she has custody right now, you may have an easier or more difficult road ahead of you.

If you are on talking terms with your mother, you should open up a dialogue about how both of you can remain active in the child's life. The Court will always want to know what is in "the best interest of the child" -- these are the magic words. What will be in your son's best health interest, best educational interest, best safety interest, best social and cultural interest, best religious and spiritual interest-- all of these factors may play a role. An attorney can help you gather the evidence, cultivate the arguments and present your legal papers to the court.

You may also wish to consult with a mediator. The Court will inevitably encourage you, if not order you, to submit to mediation in an effort to work things out between yourselves. Perhaps you will decide to move nearby your mother's place so that your son can enjoy the best of both worlds (It's great to have a grandmother as a babysitter living just around the corner).

I am a child custody lawyer with offices in Mercer County. I'd be happy to help you. Feel free to call at any time.

MARK S. GURALNICK
(609) 720-9700

Yolanda Navarrete

Yolanda Navarrete

Family Law Attorney - Morristown, NJ
Answered

The general rules that parents have preference. You should file for custody, based on your positive change in circumstances. Do so before you move out and leave your child behind because it will work in your favor.

Ronald Glenn Lieberman

Ronald Glenn Lieberman

Family Law Attorney - Haddonfield, NJ
Answered

Yes although be prepared for your mother to assert that she too is a parent to the child. You should not undertake this action without an attorney, though.

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David Perry Davis

David Perry Davis

Child Custody Lawyer - Pennington, NJ
Answered

Mark's answer nails it. In sum, under the facts you're giving, you should be able to regain custody of your son. You'll have to go through mediation first and a lot more information is needed before one can give a more detailed answer, but, generally, the law is on your side.

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