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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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I have been raising my granddaughter for over 3 years with

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I have been raising my granddaughter for over 3 years with no child support from her parents. Dad has a criminal record with a history of domestic abuse. Mom has mental health issues and both parents have drug and alcohol addictions. Parents are finally filing for divorce. Should I try to get sole custody of my granddaughter or some sort of shared arrangement? Parents do not want to give up custody.
Dear JACUSTOMER - I certainly can understand your situation as I am also a grandparent and I know how much you care for your granddaughter. Whenever a non parent is seeking custody away from the parents that person must be able to show that the parents are unfit to raise the child if the parents will not agree to a change of custody. So your attorney is correct that you would have to show both the mother and father are unfit at this time to have custody. I'm not certain why your attorney said you would have to wait until a divorce is filed other than it would be less expensive and complicated for you since you would not have to open a new case for custody if you can inter plead into the divorce case. Unless the parents will agree to the change the only way to get legal custody is through a court order and show that the parents are unfit. You can try to get some type of agreement for custody with the parents having visitation if that would solve the problem. Also, until the child isXXXXXalways has jurisdiction over custody so if the parents get their lives in shape the custody can always be turned back to either one of them.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
You mentioned some type of agreement for custody with the parents having visitation. I want her to continue to see her parents. I just don't want either of them to be able to come take her away from me or take her out of state as she wants to remain with me. Also, I want to be able to add her to my health insurance and enroll her in school, activities, etc. without always having to get paperwork signed and notorized. Would shared custody accomplish that or do I need sole custody?
If you are able to get custody you can also have a court order for visitation for the parent. All of this has to be done through the courts in order to be enforceable. Once you have custody that will be sufficient for the schools and medical etc. The reason I suggested the visitation was to see if that might be something that would help in getting the parents to agree to the custody change without a legal battle and having to show they are unfit. If they realize that they have a chance of getting their child back if they straighten up their lives it may be enough to get them to agree to the change.
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