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Grandmother got temporary custody of my daughter...How and Why did this happen?

Haverhill, MA |

My mom sent my daughter to school on Friday and i went to work. At 3pm i had a voicemail from DCF about a report that was made about my daughter having an unsupervised visit with her dad that would be at her uncles house and that there was concerns about her dad doing drugs. Me and her dad are still together and parent together. By 520p i got a phone call from my daughters school saying the paternal GM was here to pick her up and that there was court papers stating the custody. I told the school i DID NOT want my daughter going with the GM and the school said there was nothing she could do because of the papers. It is now Thursday and i have not been served with anything but i did get copies of the paperwork. Will explain more but running out of room to write.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

If you and the father are still together and parent together, what is this business about "unsupervised visits"? Do you know who filed a complaint with DCF?

You need to CALL an attorney. Any decent attorney will not charge you simply to listen to your story and decide if s/he can help you. There seem to be a lot of facts missing. Talking in person to a lawyer who will be able to ask clarifying questions in real time is important with time-sensitive cases like this.

Use the "Find a Lawyer" guide above to find one or more qualified child custody lawyers in your area. I'm sure you can get one on the phone who can meet with you today or tomorrow.

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Posted

Hi, i had a consultation with someone a little while ago and she is in complete shock and said i need to get a lawyer. I do not know what the unsupervised visits mean but DCF said right now there is no case open and its at the point where they are just waiting for manager approval to get it "Screened Out". Yes i know who filed the complaint...it was the paternal Grandmother. She told the court that he was abusing drugs and homeless and that i was intending to leave the child with the father at the paternal uncles house for the weekend. All of this happened because i told her my child was not going to be able to go to a wedding this past Friday because she is visiting with her dad. We are together and parent together but we do not live with each other at the moment. I have no been served with anything besides getting copies of what the grandmother brought to the school. I was also told that she has to notify her county for the temporary custody and she has not according to all of the phone calls me and her father made.

Posted

DCF wants to "screen out" the case because the grandmother having gotten temporary custody means that DCF does not currently have any "protective concerns" about your daughter. DCF apparently believes (may have even suggested) that the grandmother's petition solved the abuse or neglect that she reported to them.

Schedule an appointment with an attorney who will represent you in the Probate and Family Court proceeding that the grandmother filed. If you are unable to do that before 8:30 tomorrow morning, go to the court listed on the copy of the papers you received from your daughter's school. Go to the Probate or Guardianship department in the Register's office of that court. Show them the papers you have. Tell them you are the mother, that the motion is a lie and that you object to the petition. Ask to go in front of the judge to try to get your daughter back or at least to have an actual hearing where the grandmother has to convince the judge that your daughter needs an emergency, temporary guardianship.

If the court where the case was filed has an attorney of the day on duty when you are there, you can get the papers to bring with you for a free consultation with that volunteer attorney. The attorney of the day can help you fill out and file an objection, how to schedule a hearing on your objection and how to notify the grandmother so that she will be required to be in court to defend her petition and motion.

You can also ask that your daughter be given a court appointed attorney.

Then be sure you hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing that you schedule and start gathering all the evidence and witnesses you can to testify and document that you take good care of your daughter and that she is not in any danger that she needs to be protected from by being in her grandmother's custody.

NOTE: This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your area who regularly practices in the subject matter which your question is about. You should develop an attorney client relationship with the lawyer of your choice so that your communications will be subject to the attorney client privilege and have the other benefits of a professional relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific matter as partially described in the question.

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Posted

I already went to the Probate Court...they had me fill out an Affidavit and another paper which i think was for temp custody. They told me to fill it out and then a supervisor or something would look at it and see if it needed to be put in front of a judge sooner but where the court date is only Monday they weren't to sure of it. I filled out the two papers and needed a little more space so i added another piece if paper which i didn't know i wasn't allowed to do because when i brought the papers back up to them they told me i just kept adding to make it sound believable and that i never wrote that she was unsafe(which i did) and that it wouldn't go in front of the judge because she/he wasn't there until Monday. AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN READ IT!!! All the 3 ladies did is argue with what ever me and her father said. Also what the grandmother said was a lie and there was nothing stating that my daughter was in any harm with me just the father....that comes to my other question...why couldn't they have given me a court order to not allow my child to see her dad why did they have to take her from me? I have never been in trouble, i don't smoke or do drugs...i drink very rarely and i'm working 2 jobs and going to school. I live with my parents there is a roof over my daughters head she has food and clothing and she goes to school 3 days a week! Also why have i not received anything? i found online that the parent has to be served in the beginning of the case or the custody change can not take place...so why does she have my daughter? Thanks for all the info!!!

Michael L Rich

Michael L Rich

Posted

You need a lawyer to represent you on Monday. Re: Your "other question...why couldn't they have given me a court order to not allow my child to see her dad why did they have to take her from me?" Without seeing what the grandmother wrote in her court papers, it's hard to say. The answer is probably because if she did not allege that you were an unfit parent and the child was at imminent risk of harm if left in your care, she would not have been entitled to any emergency court order. Re: Your final 2 questions ... Also why have i not received anything? i found online that the parent has to be served in the beginning of the case or the custody change can not take place...so why does she have my daughter? When the grandmother got her emergency she order, she was probably given an order about how and when she is supposed to notify you of Monday's hearing. She may have violated that order or the notice may be on its way to you. Yes, the internet is right, that in ordinary circumstances, petitions and motions for guardianship or custody are not supposed to be heard without advance notice to the parents. BUT, there is a procedure to allow for them to be heard without notice if there is a serious emergency that the moving party has convinced the motion judge would leave the child at risk of serious harm if action is not taken immediately. Be sure your parents go to court with you on Monday. If worse comes to worse and the judge believes the maternal grandmother that you are not capable of making safe decisions for your daughter, the judge might at least consider giving temporary custody to your parents instead of leaving her with the paternal grandmother. Again, you need an attorney. All your efforts today after you are done getting copies of all the court papers, should be put into finding one for Monday and getting your questions answered with him or her.

Thomas J Callahan

Thomas J Callahan

Posted

Ma'am, there is an excellent attorney up your way who participates on this site, Atty. Mason. Look up his profile here and call him.

Posted

The grandmother must have filed for custody, along with a sworn statement alleging facts supporting such an emergency order. When you examine this document, you will probably find quite a bit that doesn't seem true. There will be a hearing within a very short time to see whether the temporary custody order should be extended. Because this is a private party case, not brought by DCF, you are not entitled to appointed counsel even if you are low-income. You will need to hire a lawyer, and you should do it ASAP. Your county bar association or Mass. Bar Association can give you some names of family lawyers who may be able to help you.

Disclaimer: This site exists to provide information only. It is not legal advice. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am a Massachusetts lawyer. Any information provided on this site does not, except as explicitly stated, imply familiarity with laws or procedures peculiar to your state which may differ from those where I practice.

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