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Grandparents have standing to file for custodial rights independent from your sister. If the children are living with other relatives, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., they can have rights to file under en loco parentis doctrine. The best current plan of action would be to support mother to address any mental health concerns as she is the best person to oppose Father as the other natural parent. In the mean time MGPs should also file to intervene in the case so they can ask for their own rights and custodial time period. This will be especially important if mother mental health does not improve. I hope this is helpful. Good Luck.
But what about his legal status? Do you know if that is a major factor whether he can even think of getting the children?
But what about his legal status (criminal and legal status in this country)? Can he actually get the custody of the children even then?
His criminal status is definitely an important issue. The more severe the criminal allegations the larger the prohibition against future custody rights. The question of his immigration status is very concerning considering that the children can be removed from the state and/or the country. These concerns regarding Father's criminal history and immigration status are absolutely strong factors that should be argued in favor of the stability of maternal family, whether it be grandparents or other maternal relatives.
thank you very much.