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Thank you for your question and I look forward to working on your answer. Please keep in mind that I can only respond to your post and the information contained in it, as I do not know what you know unless you describe it fully. Also, due to site tech reasons, oftentimes I am initially only able to see the first part of your post, so I apologize in advance if I ask a redundant question.
That being said, in order to better assist you, could you please clarify for me:
1. Is there a current custody / visitation order from any court and if so, which one?
I look forward to getting to work on this for you. Hang in there!
Stephanie O. Joy, JA Legal Expert
Please note: A times there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. In addition, if it is late at night, EST, and we are between postings, I may go get some shut eye, but I'll be back the next day, so never fear. On Saturday, there will be greater gaps in time due to scheduling, for any needed follow up, but rest assured, by day's end it will be done.
He needs to file a Motion/Petition for custody in the court in GA, if custody of his child is what he wants -- as apparently there has not been one, and the grandparents have just taken over since the mother wasn't doing so and apparently dad wasn't around. If the child has been with the grandparents for 4 years and this is the first time he has sought custody, he may look a little remiss, for not seeing fit to try to have his daughter with him when mom fell down on the job, but the courts will certainly grant him visitation on the off chance he can't win custody, of his own child (unless he is a danger and it would not be in the child's best interest). Also, if he JUST found out that mom hasn't been doign the caretaking because she has hid it from him, and he has been trying to amicable get her to come around, and now realizes that she won't and he needs the courts assistance, that may work. He needs to put together all the very good reasons why the child should be in CA with him, why it is in her best interests. Clearly, mom's lack of taking care of her own child should be a strong point, plus your absolute acceptance of this child despite the fact that she isn't yours, and how wonderful a father your husband would be, etc., etc., the fact that he has gainful employment, a stable home, a nice neighborhood for the child, nice safe home, if there are any extended family near you, that is good to, since she will be losing her grandparents' proximity if she moves. PLus, a willingness to facilitate visitation with the mom, which the mom has clearly been unable or unwilling to do, which courts don't like. Check out the school where the child will be attending if she can come live with you, and make sure it is considered good, as well as any pre-school - show how much you will be promoting her best life ahead of her, etc. etc. I do recommend you buck it up and pay for an attorney in GA to handle this, because it can be tricky, and you need to win it first time around. The father's distance in CA will make defending this action difficult from afar and an attorney can be of great help.
I do not see that the dad should not have custody of his own child, since mom isn't doing it, regardless of grandmom. If you can also get the proof of all he has tried to send her, clothes,e tc., and how they have been rejected, get it. Or, when you mail it now, make sure to do it all with tracking and prove they either get it or reject it. Also, get your phone bills together proving all the regular and consistent attempts he has made and how they refuse to let the child have a relationship with their daughter.
He needs to get his proofs together of his lay off and show he is now paying. He needs to send those checks and send them certified rrr to prove he sent them. The mother is not permitted to deny visitation based on missed child support payments.
Hope this helps to clarify.
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