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Will a change of custody be granted to a grandparent who has a non custodial parent living w/ them who has abandoned the child?

Norcross, GA |

My daughter's paternal grandmother just filed a petition for a change of custody. In the petition it shows that my daughter's father lives in her household. Paternity and child support was established when my daughter was 6 months old but the father never legitimated her or visited. He is in arrears for more than $15000 and hasn't made a payment since 2008. I took out a warrant on him in 2010 for child abandonment and he has been a fugitive until they arrested him in June of this year. I just learned that he is now being arraigned for it in September. He gets a SSI check for Bipolar disorder so my daughter gets a check for $52/month. He has a very violent criminal history and consistent mental health history. Will the courts allow custody/visitation rights to the grandmother if I contest?

Before June of this year, he has been a fugitive for violation of felony probation and child abandonment. I think that his mother is filing this petition now so that he doesn't have to pay me any child support. I'm scared for my daughter to be around him and his mother. His mother hates me and she has a pattern of trying to turn my daughter against me while around her. She once told my daughter that she was gonna adopt her and change her first and last name. My daughter told DFACS that her paternal teenage uncle shot a round of bullets in her grandmother's house while my daughter was there and DFACS removed her due to safety issues. Will this hold up in court against the grandmother?

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Attorney answers 3


You need to retain an experienced custody attorney immediately. You are in danger of losing custody of your child. Do not wait any longer.

I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.


Each day you wait and don't hire a lawyer increases the risk that you could lose your child. Treat this as an emergency, and retain a lawyer immediately.

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


Custody matter are always tricky and depend on all of the surrounding facts. This is not a situation you should try to handle on your own. Where custody issues are concerned, the court will focus on the best interests of the child. While it is the conventional wisdom that it is typically in a child's best interest to have a relationship with both parents, it is unlikely that a court would make a wholesale change in custody under the facts you indicate in your question. A experienced custody attorney will be able to provide more detailed guidance. Good Luck!

The answer to this question does not establish an attorney client relationship and does not constitute a privileged communication. Furthermore, it is offered in response to question asked and is based on limited facts. It should not be relied on as legal advice. If you are in need of more specific answers to your questions you should consult directly with an attorney.

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