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Can grandparents get emergency custody of grandchildren when widow mom is drug addict and alcoholic, abuse and neglect present?

Annapolis, MD |

My adult daughter is ill with bipolar or other disorder that she has had since her teens, now 30's. Out of control with money, sleeps all day, stays up for days, verbally and emotionally abuses 2 kids under 10 and both sets of parents (in laws) . She has been on a downward spiral and did move in with in-laws when desperate, now worn out her welcome and saying moving out with girls in. She gets SS money from dead husband and uses for drugs. We want her to get help. We want inlaws to get custody but how do we do this and get her help. She does drive around with kids after being up for days and drinking non stop , on a cocktail of meds. terrified for kids they are scared to death and want stability. She has probation officer, machine you have to breathe in to start car, suspended.

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Attorney answers 2


It is difficult for grandparents, or any third party, to get custody of children when there is a parent alive who contests the move. However, your daughter's troubles do give rise to the potential that you could accomplish this. It would, in all likelihood, require the assistance of an attorney because the threshold you have to overcome is establishing that the parent is unfit and that it is in the best interests of the children for custody to lie elsewhere. Good luck!


I do not practice law in MD so I can only state what I know from New Jersey. The two routes I am aware of here would be to file a custody petition as mentioned by the other attorney. The other, which has its risks, is to alert your state's child protection agency as to the dangers you suspect your daughter is placing your grandchild in. The problem with that, is that although child welfare agencies are usually tasked with finding close relatives to place a child in before placing a child in a foster home, there is no guarantee. However, they would probably have to look into you if they decided removal was necessary. And, on the other hand, if they didn't feel removal was required, they may require your daughter to participate in services to ensure the safety of the grandchildren.

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