Due to substance abuse and domestic violence, I reported a case to protect my 3 year old granddaughter to DCF. After several hearings, the magistrate ordered I have no contact with this child whom I have been a care taker for. I have been unsuccessful in obtaining legal counsel for representation. The child is in temporary custody with my ex-husband and her father is due to regain custody next month. When she needs me the most, I can no longer protect a child I have been a mother to according to the law, I have no rights as a grandparent. What kind of law dismisses family preservation by separating a child from her grandmother?
Because you are not a party to the proceeding you would likely need to file a Motion to Intervene and ask the Court that you become a "participant" to the proceedings, meaning you would get notice of further proceedings and likely the ability to be heard at those proceedings. Because you were a prior caretaker to the child there is an argument that you should be involved in the proceedings in some capacity.
If the case closes with custody to the father there are provisions under Florida law that would allow a grandparent to petition the Court for reasonable visitation rights. While the dependency case is pending you should speak to an attorney who has experience dealing with DCF in your area.
This is only general advice and should not be considered a specific legal assessment of your case. For a consultation contact our office at (352) 593-5990.
The doesn't "[dismiss] family preservation by separating a child from her grandmother." It just insures that children get to be with their parents if possible. If you believe your grandchild will suffer abuse, abandonment, or neglect in the care of her father, you have the right to seek custody of her under several provisions of Florida law. However, just understand that your private rights are subservient to the state's rights to protect the child through DCF. You didn't say why a magistrate ordered no contact between you and the child, but it sounds like you will have to work harder to find a lawyer.
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You neglected to state why the court ordered you not to have contact with your granddaughter. With that in mind, the court's first duty is the welfare of the child. The court will want to "re-unify" the child with the parents if possible before seeking other options, that is the preservation of the family the court will try to accomplish.
As to an appeal, I am sorry to say I don't believe you have standing, or the right, to appeal. This sounds like you are before a General Magistrate arising from a "Dependency" action, abandonment, abuse or neglect was found. You are not a party to this action. You may have been a caregiver, but you are not a party.
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