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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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Hello, we have a situation with our daughter, whos 18 and

Resolved Question:

Hello, we have a situation with our daughter, who's 18 and with 8 mth old baby from a 17 old boy. She moved out and moved in with him, but he has been mentally abusing her. She wants to join the Navy, but the Navy states that she can not have full custody of her baby while she is in the Navy. So, she was manipulated in given up full custody over to boyfriend and his mother. But, now she is afraid to leave. How do we convince her to leave her situation and gain custody back? What legal rights do we have as her parents?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 1 year ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question. I'm not sure that I understand your daughter's situation. you said that she gave over full custody to the boyfriend and his mother, "but now she is afraid to leave." What is her living situation? Is she in the Navy right now?

Customer:

My daughter situation is complicated. She lives with her boyfriend and his mother and they are mentally abusing her. She wants to leave the house, but she's afraid to. She has already signed up to the Navy last month. But the Navy won't accept her if she has full custody of her child.

Brandon M. :

Does she have an enlistment start date?

Customer:

no sure.

Brandon M. :

How are the boyfriend and the mother mentally abusing your daughter? Can you give an example?

Customer:

they controlling her every move and not allowing her to leave the house

Brandon M. :

What's keeping your daughter from walking out the door right now? I do apologize--I just want to make sure that my picture of the situation is accurate.

Customer:

I understand. Well, he's telling her that he loves her and that they should get married and dont leave me ... i need you .. bull crap. So, she afraid to leave and lose him and the baby at the same time. Also, she just had an abortion procedure done.

Brandon M. :

Ok, I understand how 18 year olds can be. Perhaps you mean that she's being manipulated to stay out of fear of losing her boyfriend, their baby, and this pseudo support structure that she has at his home. Is that close to accurate?

Customer:

correct

Brandon M. :

Was there a court order relinquishing custody to the mother and boyfriend? Or was it informal?

Customer:

no court order. it was informal

Brandon M. :

Thank you. I have just one or two more questions. Do we have any reason to believe that the child is in danger of abuse or neglect under the existing situation?

Customer:

no. unfortunately not. That's one good thing I must say. But, that's only because she is not allow to leave. So, if she did leave then yes I have reason to believe the child would be in danger of abuse and neglect reasons because he was expelled from high school due to anger, emotional and behavioral issues.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your patience. Please allow me a moment to explain the laws in Ohio:

Brandon M. :

There are really two parts to this question. The first part is what legal options are available for a mother to gain custody of a child living with the parents and one grandparent. The second question is how to compel the mother to take action.

To answer the first question, either parent has the right to request custody of his or her child. Child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child. What is in a child's best interests vary from situation to situation. It's certainly relevant if a child's father is 17 years old, and was expelled from high school due to anger, emotional, and behavioral issues. Also, the reality is that a child is usually more dependent on its mother during the infant years, due to physical/feeding reason as well as developmental reasons.

So nothing would stop the legal parent from going to the court and filing a petition for custody and child support. That can happen at any time, with or without the permission of the other parent. Plan A is that the parents live in harmony and raise their child responsibly. Plan B is that they live apart but work together as adults to raise the child in a healthy situation. Plan C is not ideal, but it's the only remaining option if Plan A and Plan B don't work--go to court.

Guardianships can be granted with the consent of both parents or by order of the court where the child is in danger of abuse or neglect. A guardianship gives custody to a grandparent or other non-parent by agreement of the parents or where the child is in danger of abuse or neglect. You have said that you are not concerned for the safety of the child at this juncture.

Brandon M. :

So that leads to the question of how to convince the mother to leave the house, take the child with her, and file for custody. An 18 year old is deemed under the law to be able to make that decision for herself. You and I know that 18 year olds are not fully mentally developed. Psychiatry tells us that our brains do not fully mature until we reach age 25. But legally, it's her's decision. So the question of getting her to act is not a legal question--it's a question of how to make your 18 year old come to her senses.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes. that make sense.

Brandon M. :

In case it wasn't clear, an informal relinquishment of custody is non-binding. Your daughter should not be under the impression that she has given up any of her custodial rights based on an informal agreement.

Customer:

I believe our next step is to get her some emotional help and maybe send her away for two weeks then ultimately join the Navy.

Customer:

well, she did go to family court... does that make it formal?

Brandon M. :

It sounds like that is the major stumbling block for her right now. The law certainly recognizes a mother's rights regarding custody of her child, but it isn't going to intervene unless the parent requests intervention. She's 18 with an 8 month old baby--that says a lot about the challenges she is dealing with right now, and it may be more secure for her to stay in an abusive situation than to leave. You know her best, XXXXX XXXXX don't mean to suggest that this is necessarily the situation.

Yes, if an order is obtained by a family court, it would be formal and legally enforceable.

Brandon M. :

Did you have any other question?

Brandon M. :

Hold on....

Brandon M. :

I apologize... I may have misunderstood. You said that she DID go to family court?

Customer:

yes,

Brandon M. :

Did the family court make a custody order?

Customer:

hang on...

Customer:

I believe so. How can we find out for sure and get a copy of the custody order from Family Court?

Brandon M. :

The only way to get a copy of the actual order would be to physically visit the courthouse and request to access the court's physical file.

Brandon M. :

If there was an order, how long ago would it have been made?

Customer:

okay. I believe 2 months ago.

Brandon M. :

Your daughter definitely needs to review that custody order to find out what her custodial rights are now. That said, a child custody and visitation order can be modified any time there is a material change in circumstances, so even if an order was made 2 months ago or 2 days ago, the court can make a new order if things have changed and the child's best interests require a new order.

Brandon M. :

In which Ohio county does your daughter reside?

Customer:

Cuyahoga

Brandon M. :

Ok, I'm going to recommend that you set your daughter up with an referral from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: http://www.clemetrobar.org/Lawyer_Referral_Service/Public/FAQs/Lawyer_Referral_Service_FAQ_s/

Brandon M. :

You can let them know your daughter's financial limitations, and they can match you with someone that she can afford. If she is indigent, they can refer her to a family law clinic where she can speak with someone in person and get legal advice on how to proceed.

Customer:

Excellent. Thanks for your help and good advice. I do appreciate your time and knowledge on this manner.

Brandon M. :

Well, it was my pleasure to answer your questions. Your daughter isn't much older than my oldest... it's easy to understand your anxieties.

Brandon M. :

I wish you the best, XXXXX XXXXX good rest of your evening.

Customer:

Thank You. God Bless.

Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience: Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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