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Willingly signing over Child Custody & getting the child back in the care of bio parent in the future.

Littleton, CO |

My daughter is unable to care for her 14month old daughter (my grandaughter) at the moment b/c of drug use.I have her in my care currently.We have a court date set for Feb. I served her with papers to get custody of my grndaugter.My daugter was told by a lawyer that it would be best not to give me custody b/c if she was to want her daughter back after she "got on her feet" that the judge would look down on her for giving me custody in the first place and he suggested something like power of attorney.She is willing to work with me, she is just afraid of what that lawyer told her about a judge looking down on her for giving me custody& not being able to get her daugter back in the future if she does sign over custody.Is it true a judge may look down on that?Even if she had her life together?

Ive already involoved the Dept of Social Services, they agreed that my daughter cannot parent her child at this time and left my grandaughter in my care. My daughter does hope to go to rehab & better her life so she can eventually one day be able to parent her daughter again. Until then I would like some sort of custody. Which i did file for custody. My daugter is just unsure if a judge would give her parental rights back to her in the future if she signs custody over to me now. But in the future,if she is fit to be a parent & off drugs then wouldn't a judge agree she should have custody back?

Attorney Answers 3


You do not say what kind of court hearing you have pending. You also don't state if you already have an attorney. If you have an attorney, then talk with that lawyer. If you applied for guardianship, then you can tell the court that you want it to be temporary or permanent. Your daughter, if she shows up an agrees will simplify the process. Otherwise you have to put proof on to show that she is currently unfit and unable to care for the child. If you do that, the court will probably refer the case to the Dept Family Services for an investigation on fitness and whether parental rights should be terminated.

This is a very complicated area of the law. You need a lawyer to advise you on the best process. If your daughter is concerning about permanently losing parental rights, she also needs to consult a different lawyer.

Like many attorneys we will sit down and review your situation with you without charge.

Your best bet is to find a good lawyer who provides advice on this kind of issue on a regular basis and review your specific facts; the lawyer will be able to give you an analysis of the law and your options.

By the way, some attorneys sell "unbundled" or "limited" legal services where you pay for just what you need and can afford. For example, some attorneys will prepare letters for you to sign, legal documents, or sell the paperwork for the court filings; then you can proceed on your own, but knowing that your paperwork is correct and having a road map as to how to proceed. Or who will attend a hearing for a flat fee even if they are not handling the whole case. Neighborhood Law Office is such a firm.

At Neighborhood Law Office we never charge for an initial consultation, and at that meeting we can go through your specific facts and give you options. Please call us anytime for an appointment.

Thanks, Jim

Jim Underhill
Neighborhood Law Office
7225 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO 80224
303-302-1001 fax

NOTICE— This answer is based upon a partial understanding of the facts and may not be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship between the writer and the attorney. It is provided for general information. You should always consult an attorney about your important legal rights.

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I am assuming for this response that this is a private parental responsibilities action initiated by you and not a dependency and neglect proceeding brought by the state. If the latter, that changes everything. If the court does award you parental responsibilities (the terms Colorado law uses instead of "custody"), and you and your daughter later agree that parental responsibilities should be transferred back to her, then the court, in all likelihood, would approve your agreement. However, if she asked the court to return parental responsibilities to her, and you opposed that request, she would have a difficult time. I expect that the possible situation where you oppose the return of the child is what concerns her lawyer.

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First -- I am so sorry to read your question. I suspect emoitons have been highly charged for much longer than that baby has been around as they relate to the relationship you have with your daughter.

Most importantly, it is unclear if you yourself have an attorney. You may want to consider sitting down with someone that deals with grandparents' rights in the world of parental responsibilities. You can present any number of scenarios to the judge that is hearing your case (I presume you filed paperwork seeking parental responsibilities). If you and your daughter want to try to fashion an agreement that brings the child back into her life once your daughter has demonstrated sobriety, you may ge that approved. There are many factors that will go into the judge's ultimate determination.

If social servicesd has indeed become involved, and initiated a dependency and neglect matter, that matter will trump the parental responsibilities and the dependency and neglect court can implement all sorts of treatments for your daughter to complete prior to rturning the child to her care.

I wish you all the luck you need in navigating this mess. And my thoughts are with your daughter and granddaughter.

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