My son, a career soldier/active duty, has a daughter 3yrs old. His wife left him with the child upon his return from Iraq (Dec of 2010) with no forwarding adress; no contact info, etc. He tracked her down via Facebook to get word to her that he wanted contact with his daughter. She agreed to visits but they were few & far between. This past April, she contacted him via Facebook and they met half way (he is stationed in Ga/she apparently somewhere in NC) and she handed over the child to him with a few clothes and basically said "keep her". Now my son is scheduled for training of which he will be unavailable for 60 - 90 days. (The military does not allow active duty soldiers to have custody or be a single parent because of such training activities) They are not divorced; no custody. My son is bringing the child to me to live. He has gotten the POA, etc. for me to care for her; put her in childcare; insurance; etc. My question is - can the mother show up out of the blue (not that I think she will) and take the child from me even with me giving POA? (This is time sensitive as he's bring ing my grandaughter to me this week. I need to know how to handle this.)
State/Country relating to question: North Carolina
Gotten all paperwork for POA, insurance, shot records, birth certificate, etc. We are afraid the mother may call out of the blue and want the child back and will be able to take her from me though I have POA.
Hello and thank you for choosing JustAnswer!Generally, each parent has co-equal rights to the physical possession of a child of the marriage. Unless there is some written document establishing custodial and visitation rights, the custodial arrangements are subject to being changed at the whim of either parent. Unfortunately for you, neither the POA nor your desire to keep your grandchild with you will trump the mother's desire to have the child with her unless there is some court Order addressing custody and visitation.I understand that you do not think the mother will show up and make such demands but, if she does, then she will have the law on her side. Your son should consider retaining a family law Attorney in North Carolina to file for some kind of Temporary Custody (and probably divorce). Getting some kind of temporary custody/visitation order indicating that the child should stay in the care of the father until further custody determinations can be made.Should he desire to retain such an Attorney, as I recommend in order to prevent the possibility of the mother showing up and taking the child, then the following link will allow you to select your area in North Carolina and it will then provide you with Family Law Attorneys near you:http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestate/Family-Law/North-CarolinaI hope this has helped and I wish you all the best. Please let me know if you need me to further clarify my answer and I will do my best to so clarify.Thank you,RobertWhile of course not required, positive feedback and/or a bonus are greatly appreciated if I have been helpful. To request my assistance again in the future, please go to the following link and enter your question on my profile page:http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-askrobert/
I don't see my son being granted temp or perm custody due to his active duty status and if either he or his estranged wife could afford an attorney they would have already filed for a divorce. Meanwhile my grandaughter has been passed around from one to another while with her mother - not to mention rumors of the 2 even living in her car! When the mother handed over the child and walked away - was that not abandonment?
Thank you for your follow-up.The Judge would determine whether or not to grant your son custody but, from what you have told me, it is likely that your son would get some kind of custody if not sole custody. Of course, if there are going to be issues with the military then you might consider adopting the child or pursue being named the child's guardian. Basically, from what you have told me, if you seek assistance from the local North Carolina Court, a Judge is not going to let this child be taken with the mother to live in a car (if that fact can be proven).In order for her act of leaving the child with the father to constitute as abandonment, she must have abandoned the child for at least 6 months pursuant to G.S. Section 14‑322.1 which can be accessed at the following link:http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_14/gs_14-322.1.htmlPursuant to the statute, she must also conceal her location for purposes of avoiding her parental obligations. If she continues to conceal her location when your son attempts to enforce her parental obligations and after 6 months have passed since she turned the child over then you may have a good case for willful abandonment which will allow you to terminate the mother's Parental Rights pursuant to G.S. Section 7B‑1111 which can be accessed at the following link:http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_7B/GS_7B-1111.htmlI hope this has helped and I wish you all the best. Please let me know if you need me to further clarify my answer and I will do my best to so clarify.Thank you,RobertWhile of course not required, positive feedback and/or a bonus are greatly appreciated if I have been helpful. To request my assistance again in the future, please go to the following link and enter your question on my profile page:http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-askrobert/
Is this "guardian approach" something I can pursue on my own? (My son will be off the radar when he starts training.....) My main concern is I have no problems with her mother if she wants to see my grandaughter when she moves in with me - I just want to make sure she can't take her............we have issues as I cosigned many student loans for her that I am having to pay myself to save my credit) If she has legal rights to take her from me, we will keep the child "under wraps" until the 6 months period (Sept) not that she's called/contacted my son re: the child anyway - I just don't want any surprises or drama for the child's sake.
You cannot pursue appointment as a guardian unless the parents agree or the parents have abandoned the child. Once the mother abandons the child then your son could agree to name you as the guardian. However, since you have to wait for the abandonment period anyway, you may just want to attempt to terminate the mother's parental rights after the 6 month period.I hope this has helped. Of course, I am glad to help and further clarify should such clarification be necessary.Thank you,RobertWhile of course not required, positive feedback and/or a bonus are greatly appreciated if I have been helpful. To request my assistance again in the future, please go to the following link and enter your question on my profile page:http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-askrobert/
I am a licensed Attorney.
Did I get my $68 worth or what!? U da man! Thanks u so much..........
Haha! Thank you and it was a pleasure assisting you!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).