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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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Recently, my niece was taken from her mother from DHR and placed

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Recently, my niece was taken from her mother from DHR and placed in my grandmother's care after it was discovered that she had been severely beaten. A month ago my grandmother was awarded custody of my niece, and in the court order it explicitly states that the mother may have visitation at my grandmother's discretion. The judge told her more than once that she had the right to refuse to let the mother see the child. However, the mother has always been allowed to see the child, save once. Abut two weeks ago, the mother called around 7 ( she has been asked on multiple occasions not to come after 6:00, because the child is usually being fed, bathed, and settled in after that time) and said she would be coming over. We believe she was intoxicated. My grandmother told her not to come, that she would have to wait until the next day. The mother then screamed profanities and threatened to "break down the door" and take the child. Shortly after that, she called DHR and told them that she was being denied any visitation to the child. We met with a social worker today, and they said that from now on we will be having DHR supervised visits once a week with the mother. Can they do that?
Dear JACUSTOMER - It would appear that DHR is doing your grandmother a favor by making the visits supervised and helping to control the situation rather than having your grandmother have to deal with the mother on a daily basis. To answer your question, yes DHR would have the right to set the visitation based on the circumstances since they were the ones who placed the child originally and set the visitation rules. Since the mother did not abide by the rules it seems that DHR took the matter into their hands and set the visitation with supervision. I'm not certain why you would be concerned as it seems your grandmother has enough to do to properly raise the child without having the mother causing trouble while intoxicated. If I am missing something in all of this please let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am concerned because the child has nightmares for a week after talking to her mother on the phone. She's terrified of her. Prior to DHR setting these requirements, we might have heard from her every two months. Now it will be weekly. DHR did not set these visitation rules, they were set by a family court judge at a custody hearing that neither the mother nor any DHR representative was present at.
Your grandmother can appeal the ruling to a higher court. Also, just because the court set the visitation doesn't mean the mother will actually show up for the visits. If she didn't show in the past there's no reason to believe she will exercise the visitation now. The simply set the visitation to avoid the problems encountered when the mother was drunk and called DHR but the court will not force her to visit. So your grandmother can either appeal the decision or wait to see if the mother exercises the supervised visitation. It may be less traumatic for the child if the visits are supervised rather than having the child alone with the mother.
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