I have full custody of my grandson and his other grandparents have filed to intervene with custody . Just recently they got unfounded abuse charges against them. When he is with them his cousin who is 7 taught him to play with himself and since anyone under the age of 10 can't be charged as a perp. Children and Youth put unfounded charges against them. Can a judge give them custody?
If the other grandparents came up clean from the investigation, there is no more barrier than if someone is arrested and then found not guilty. For purposes of this answer I will assume that there is no further involvement by Children and Youth, and that the other grandparents are filing a standard custody action. I will also assume that your grandson's parents are not in the picture at all at this point, since you do not mention them.
Knowing only as much about your situation as you were able to put into a paragraph, it seems unlikely to me that they will be able to leverage custody of your grandson out of your household, and into theirs. However, I consider it somewhat more likely that they will be able to obtain a measure of partial physical custody, making it impossible for you to cut them off from your grandson's life.
The first barrier that the other grandparents must overcome is "standing," which is the right to be heard by the court when they ask for relief. For grandparents, this is a fairly low barrier. Here is the standard they must meet to have the right to ask for the most basic of custody rights:
If they want something more than the very basics, though, the barrier gets higher. If they are trying to leverage your grandson into their home, they must meet this barrier:
It is important to understand that passing either of those barriers only gets them in the door to ask for what they want. They still have to establish that what they want is in the best interest of your grandson, taking into account the reality that he is now living with you, and the disruption of his life that would accompany a primary custody transfer.
I urge you to speak with a family lawyer right away. This matter seems far too serious to leave to generalized advice and even educated guesswork.
Attorney Michael B. Greenstein
This response is offered for informational purposes only, does not create a lawyer/client relationship, and should not be taken as legal advice.
As the previous post mentioned, if this was unfounded, then this incident won't have a bearing on this case. Assuming these grandparents due have standing to sue for primary custody, the court will look at a number of factors to help it determine the best interests of the child and will award custody accordingly. If you have had primary custody for some time now, then they may have a bit of an uphill battle.
Your best bet would be to retain a lawyer as soon as possible. If you can't afford one, you should contact the Dauphin County Bar Association to see if you qualify for any pro-bono programs.
Justin C. Gearty Jr., Esquire
Email: [email protected]
This post is for educational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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