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I need some advice. I am the maternal grandmother of my soon to be 6 yr old granddaughter. I am fighting for custody.

Middletown, NY |

She lived with me since birth, in 09 I got physical custody of her and the father signed off on it, now 3 yrs later he steps back in and says he wants full sole custody. He played no part in her life for the first 2+ yrs. Her mother is out of the picture and has been pretty much for almost 1 yr. How can the courts take her away from her only home she knows, even after in 09 the father signed over physical custody to me, at only seen her maybe once every 2-3 months. The judge stated since he was her biological father he had rights (which he hasn't exercised in 6 yrs), and since we smoke (but smoked 2 yrs ago when he signed her over) that they had the right to give her to him. She hates him, hates going to his house, my lawyer, law guardian, mothers lawyer and mental health say stay w/me.

The judge today granted him sole custody just because he said he wants it. The "father" has rights, but doesn't the child have rights too. She has told the judge she wants to stay with me. For 6 years he has not proven he is a father. He was asked why he didn't visit his daughter on his days off of work, his reply on record was, "his wife likes when I bring her lunch on my days off, so I take her lunch" doesn't some sort of extraordinary circumstances apply to him being absent for the first 2 yrs of her life. and doesn't him singing her over to me in court mean something. He would have never did anything about it until I (the grandmother) took him to court for child support. He was fine with not having anything to do with his child. He, his wife and his mother had lied in court, but my lawyer never brought witnesses in to rebut it because it was minor????? The life of the child I raised for her entire life is not minor. please help !!!!!

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

It sounds like you have a good case. The standard is what is in the best interest of the children. Work closely with your lawyer to obtain the best results. Good luck.

I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Brooklynlaw.net Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: howard@brooklynlaw.net. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.

Posted

The biological father has superior rights of custody over a non-parent, so the court can, and will , typically give the father/mother the child back even after they agreed to give up custody. The courts will do what is in the best interests of the child and that is always to be with their parent. A six year olds preference is but only one factor a court will consider when making a custody determination. It sounds like you already went to a hearing and lost. If that is the case, then your only remedy at this point is to take an appeal. It also sounds like perhaps your attorney did not put on a good case against the father. Make sure that you file your notice of appeal within 30-days after you receive the decision and order. Good Luck.

Posted

The judge cannot give custody until after a hearing on the issue. Since you have had custody for many years, that is what is called an extraordinary circumstance and the issue of custody must be decided on bests interests of the child which at this point can only be decided after a hearing. In regard to the father being able to come forward at this time to request custody, that is always a parent's right. However, if he will prevail is another issue. Work with your attorney and the child's lawyer to prove the child's best interests lie with you.

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Asker

Posted

We went through a trial and finished on this past Fri. Feb 1st, and the judge granted him sole custody. How after days away from 6 yrs. can he just walk in and take her. When she was born he did nothing, until child support court, then he still proceeded to do nothing, only a visit every 2-3 months until last Dec 2011, he said he wanted every other weekend -- but up to that point he had open visitation. So we agreed, and now because his wife is in the picture he wants full sole and gets it. Everyone my lawyer, my daughters lawyer, the law guardian, and the people from mental health say for her to stay here. "Biological" means he can take her after not giving a crap for the 1st 6 yrs. He paid child support and has tried 3 times to get it lowered, and every time he goes it gets raised. So he figures if he has custody he won't have to pay. He has not bought her anything else, nor did he pay for her preschool for 2 yrs, or even school clothes for her school this year in kindergarten. They wanted her at their wedding and we paid for the dress, we took her there, we were the ones for the first 3 years to go to him with her, and in the last 1-2 yrs when she gets picked up or dropped off it is by his mother not him. If there is such thing as a putative father that they allow rights to after certain times why not grandparents who have taken on the responsibility just like a parent and we are blood, where a putative father is not blood most of the time. We are at the point of appeal that needs to be filed by Monday Feb 4, because the court she is to go live with him on the 12th of Feb. She does not want to go, when she was told she started sucking her thumb of which she never even did this as a baby, and started wetting the bed at night, she also has these fits which is very unusual for her. Why did the judge favor him because he stepped up after 6 yrs, and they claim it is because now he is married and has a house. She still lives in the same house she lived in when she was born, and we weren't FORCED to support her like he was when we took he to court for support, he "claimed" it wasn't his and lied on the stand several times. My lawyer said it was small stuff and there was no need to rebut the facts it wouldn't make a difference the judges mind was set as to her decision from literally day one. One the first day of trial she told everyone she was awarding him custody and never changed her thoughts on it, even after he said on record he didn't come to visit his daughter because his wife liked when he brought her lunch on his days off and that was why he never visited. And one more thing on his weekend visits he has to work, where he works it is mandatory weekends, so all of my granddaughters "BONDING" time was with his wife, he would see her for 2 hours on Fridays, 2 hours on Sat and they wake her up before he goes to work on Sundays to say goodbye, all the rest of the time was the wife. So if he has no quality time with her on his weekends, and lunch is more important with the wife than to come visit his daughter of whom he says now he wants to be a father, I think we go a bad deal. Sorry it was so long, but any other advise would be appreciated-- and do you know a great lawyer on grand parent custody that would like to do a pro-bono case so I do not lose my pride and joy to someone who really doesn't want his child he just wants to make his wife happy, and not pay child support. We even said if it is the money fine we don't want his support, because money does not make you a parent, its the time -- physical and emotional -- spent with a child that makes you a parent.

Lawrence Allen Weinreich

Lawrence Allen Weinreich

Posted

Unfortunately the only thing you can do is appeal the decision.