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FamilyAnswer
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Category: Family Law
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Experience:  8 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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Hello, just learning of this sight and Im hoping to receive

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Hello, just learning of this sight and I'm hoping to receive a response as soon as possible...thank you in advance!
I am a single grandparent, living on disability, and have just learned today that I I make too much to qualify for legal services...about $1000 over annual income limit. I am in search of a way to receive grandparental visitation of my 2 year old grandson. Perhaps I am writing too much for this request but the background is vital info and how it all began. Please bear with me...
My grandson was born Oct 23, 2010 and I was not allowed any contact for the first 1.5 years. My son and she were not them together nor are they still. I and my three sisters were able to visit in the hospital room on his few days of birth. She was adament that this was my sons child and I did not deny it because he looked so much like him at his birth however we still offered to provide the funds to have paternaty test performed. This was not going to be done then are ever according to the mother and she was extremely insulted that we even considered it.
For the next 1.5 years, I was harrassed by her grandmother, her mother and her that "I would never see my grandson," "he belomged to her now (the mothers grandmother), and he would never no me or his father," and so on, always in a very vulgar language...I was called everything in the book...and I was often threatened as well. I eventually had to just put aside for the time being. The mother finally texted me, out of the blue, and asked me to spend every other weekend with him, that I should get to know him. (cant prove this in court, but that was a day that she couldn't find a babysitter and needed someone to get him)
I am a full time student, presently, and I told her that that would be wonderful but at that very moment I was in class and I wouldn't be able to be there, 30 miles away, until later that day. Well that didn't happen but I did get him that weekend and have had him very often since then...I was thrilled to have him. I feel in love with him instantly and it appeared that old feelings were mending. It was a wonderful time until just recently...Dec 20, 2012. During those six months, I might add, I learned alot about the mother and her use of drugs and how she took care of this child.
She asked me to come get him on the on the 13th of Dec...dispite the fact that I informed her of three finals I had to complete in two days...because she had some appointment with dhs the next day. (She is an expert at manipulation and does it all the time) I agreed, came to get him that night and told her that I wanted to keep him for a week or so because the semester was over to which she agreed. It was on Wed dec 19th, the following week that she spoke with him on the phone, she missed him. Iasked her if she would like me to bring him home because I would be in the area that evening and I could bring him by but her reply was "no perhaps you can keep him until the 9th because I have a court day, for parking in front of hydrant." (this was about the third court date she had to go to for child endangerment, and others that she asked me to take care of him so she could go) . I agreed, it was no problem.
The very next day she called me and asked that I bring him home because people from a church were going to be by to take sizes for xmas gifts. I asked her he is size 2T-3T, can they not assume what to donate....she said no, he needs to be here...I replied could you not have told me this yesterday when I was in the area so I don't need to spend the gas to get down there again, does she have the $10 dollars to give me...and so on...she just argued and I said fine I will be there in an hour or two.
Upon my arrivald, I stood by my car as the child went to ring the doorbell as he enjoys doing, and instead of coddling him and hugging him as a mother that missed him so much would do, she came right up to my face and started screaming at me....I becam angry, raised my voice back to her and informed her that the police were going to be called and they would know of her drug use. I had known of this for some time but always had to walk on eggshells to avoid this confrontation from happening....foul language began flowing from her sisters mouth as expected...in front of the child.
That evening, I contacted DHS hotline, informed police and waited. Since then I have received threats from the grandmother and her that I will never see him again...
I have waited in anticipation to contact legal services for help, had to wait for xmas holiday to end because when I called them I was informed they were closed until today
and to find out my income is too much to qualify.
I have called a few attorneys and have been quoted prices that I can by no means afford and I am writng this to find out if there is a different route I can take.
The child loved being with me...as a matter of fact he would always cry crocadile tears for me to bring him home..never was there a tear when I came to get
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 1 year ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good afternoon. I certainly understand your situation and concern. I am not sure if I missed it but did you say where your son is and if he is involved with the child at all? Is he on the birth certificate or was paternity ever established? Does he have any interest in custody and/or visitation with the child?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


No, in all that writing, I forgot to tell you that during the six months that I spent time with him, she once asked me if I wanted to do the test and I replied to her that i was sure he was Jason's son and I would go on her word on that and that is as far as it got....My son has spent very little time with him. Only recently out of jail and not working and to my dismay does not wnat to spend the time with the child because this will only bring him into the mothers life again or some such reason....he has been with the child but the child still feels only comfortable around me and puts up a big fuss if Im not there. That would eventually be changed...evan is only 2 and still does not talk but does understand his surroundings. That is another matter that I was concerned with....he was shown very little training, as a mother would do with her child, and in the six months that I spent with him he learned so much...even the boyfreind made that remark at one time

Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 1 year ago.
Carol, thank you for the additional information. Arkansas does allow a court to order visitation rights to a child. This can be found under
9-13-103, which I have provided for you in its entirety below. Prior to visitation being awarded, paternity must first be established. As stated within (b)(3). Once paternity is established, the burden would then be on you, to demonstrate the following:

(A) The petitioner has established a significant and viable relationship with the child for whom he or she is requesting visitation; and

(B) Visitation with the petitioner is in the best interest of the child.

(d) To establish a significant and viable relationship with the child, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:

(1)(A) The child resided with the petitioner for at least six (6) consecutive months with or without the current custodian present;

(B) The petitioner was the caregiver to the child on a regular basis for at least six (6) consecutive months; or

(C) The petitioner had frequent or regular contact with the child for at least twelve (12) consecutive months; or

(2) Any other facts that establish that the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child.

(e) To establish that visitation with the petitioner is in the best interest of the child, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:

(1) The petitioner has the capacity to give the child love, affection, and guidance;

(2) The loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child; and

(3) The petitioner is willing to cooperate with the custodian if visitation with the child is allowed.

Based upon the facts that you stated above, there does appear to be a good faith basis to proceed. If you are unable to retain legal services, as a result of your income, you have two options. The first would be to handle the matter yourself, which you have a legal right to do. The clerk of court in the county where the child resides, should have the necessary forms for you to fill out and file. The other option would be to call private attorneys and see if they would be willing to the case prob bono or at a reduced rate. All attorneys are encouraged to do this, so it does not hurt to ask. In an ideal situation, your son would try and obtain visitation and could allow you to see the child at that time as well. If he does not want to get involved, it would then fall on you to go through the court process, if she is unwilling to cooperate with you and act reasonable.


Visitation rights of grandparents when the child is in the custody of a parent:

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Child” means a minor under eighteen (18) years of age of whom the custodian has control and who is:

(A) The grandchild of the petitioner; or

(B) The great-grandchild of the petitioner;

(2) “Counseling” means individual counseling, group counseling, or other intervention method;

(3) “Custodian” means the custodial parent of the child with the authority to grant or deny grandparental visitation;

(4) “Mediation service” means any formal or informal mediation; and

(5) “Petitioner” means any individual who may petition for visitation rights under this section.

(b) A grandparent or great-grandparent may petition a circuit court of this state for reasonable visitation rights with respect to his or her grandchild or grandchildren or great-grandchild or great-grandchildren under this section if:

(1) The marital relationship between the parents of the child has been severed by death, divorce, or legal separation;

(2) The child is illegitimate and the petitioner is a maternal grandparent of the illegitimate child; or

(3) The child is illegitimate, the petitioner is a paternal grandparent of the illegitimate child, and paternity has been established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(c)(1) There is a rebuttable presumption that a custodian's decision denying or limiting visitation to the petitioner is in the best interest of the child.

(2) To rebut the presumption, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:

(A) The petitioner has established a significant and viable relationship with the child for whom he or she is requesting visitation; and

(B) Visitation with the petitioner is in the best interest of the child.

(d) To establish a significant and viable relationship with the child, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:

(1)(A) The child resided with the petitioner for at least six (6) consecutive months with or without the current custodian present;

(B) The petitioner was the caregiver to the child on a regular basis for at least six (6) consecutive months; or

(C) The petitioner had frequent or regular contact with the child for at least twelve (12) consecutive months; or

(2) Any other facts that establish that the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child.

(e) To establish that visitation with the petitioner is in the best interest of the child, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following:

(1) The petitioner has the capacity to give the child love, affection, and guidance;

(2) The loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child; and

(3) The petitioner is willing to cooperate with the custodian if visitation with the child is allowed.

(f)(1) An order granting or denying visitation rights to grandparents and great-grandparents shall be in writing and shall state any and all factors considered by the court in its decision to grant or deny visitation under this section.

(2)(A) If the court grants visitation to the petitioner or petitioners, the visits may occur without regard to which parent has physical custody of the child.

(B) Visits with a paternal grandparent or great-grandparent may occur even when the child is in the custody of the mother, and visits with a maternal grandparent or great-grandparent may occur even when the child is in the custody of the father.

(3)(A) If the court grants visitation to the petitioner under this section, then the visitation shall be exercised in a manner consistent with all orders regarding custody of or visitation with the child unless the court makes a specific finding otherwise.

(B) If the court finds that the petitioner's visitation should be restricted or limited in any way, then the court shall include the restrictions or limitations in the order granting visitation.

(4) An order granting or denying visitation rights under this section is a final order for purposes of appeal.

(5) After an order granting or denying visitation has been entered under this section, the custodian or petitioner may petition the court for the following:

(A) Contempt proceedings if one (1) party to the order fails to comply with the order;

(B) To address the issue of visitation based on a change in circumstances; or

(C) To address the need to add or modify restrictions or limitations to visitation previously awarded under this section.

(g)(1) A court may order mediation services to resolve a visitation issue under this section if:

(A) Mediation services are available;

(B) Both parties agree to participate in mediation services; and

(C) One (1) or both of the parties agree to pay for mediation services.

(2) Records, notes, reports, or discussions related to the mediation service shall not be used by the court to determine visitation under this section.

(h)(1) A court may order counseling to address underlying matters surrounding the visitation issue under this section if:

(A) Counseling is available;

(B) Both parties agree to participate in counseling; and

(C) One (1) or both of the parties agree to pay for counseling.

(2) Records, notes, reports, or discussions related to the counseling shall not be used by the court to determine visitation under this section.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need any clarification on something which I stated above, prior to rating me. Also, please remember to rate my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars, before exiting the site, so I can receive credit for my help. I hope you found it to be Excellent! Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. If you feel the need to click either of the two faces/stars on the left, please STOP and reply to me via the "REPLY TO EXPERT or CONTINUE CONVERSATION "button. I want to make sure your experience with the site was as pleasurable as possible and that you are satisfied with the help I provided.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Could you answer one more question...I did plan on getting the paternity test but unfortunaltely it can only be done by court order...she will not allow me to be around the child. This is the only way I can be sure to have the right. How do I go about getting the order to be performed

Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 1 year ago.
I would be happy to answer that. This is where the issue with the father may become a problem, since it is likely that the court would first require that he establish paternity, prior to you being able to seek visitation. If it was the other way around and you were the maternal grandparent, it would not need to be established. If this was done prior and/or she was/is willing to acknowledge it, it would be a different story but if she is not, it would have to be court ordered. Your son will likely have to cooperate in this situation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes I am aware that he will have to be involved and that will not be problem, but can you give me info on that step as you did with the first by sending me the 9-13-103 reference. Is there another section for the steps that I am required to forgo for the paternity test order...or is this just aother form that I must get and fill out by the county clerk. This would be of great help also.

Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 1 year ago.
Both are forms which need to be filled out and filed with the clerk, in the county where the child currently resides. The clerk of the family division, should have the forms for you to obtain. As such, you can go speak with them in person or see if they can provide you with that information over the phone. If it turns out that they do not have them, you can then try contacting legal aid or going online, and purchasing them.
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Category: Family Law
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Experience: 8 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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