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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced Family Law Attorney
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My son and the mother of his son have joint custody - never

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My son and the mother of his son have joint custody - never married. My son has had his son for the majority of the time including during the school year. She is not responsible and now we question if he is being responsible, as well. Is there any way grandparents can get guardianship or something set up for this child, who is now 12, so we can step in if we need to before our grandson gets thrown into the system or worse pawned over to his mother's side of the family?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
Good Day! I'll do my best to assist you. Please remember: I only provide general information and a local attorney should always be consulted.
There are a couple of different options.
A Delegation of Power (similar to a Power of Attorney) does not transfer custody, but it does allow the grandparent to be involved in the child's legal decisions and to supervise and provide a home for the child.
This organization used to provide the Delegation of Power form, and likely still does: http://www.lssmn.org/raising-relative-children/mkca/
Other options to transfer actual legal custody include guardianship and adoption.
Relevant statute here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=257C.03
Forms here: http://www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp/?page=1627
Manual detailing the process for the various options here: http://www.lawhelpmn.org/resource/legal-steps-manual?ref=SyDfn
Guardianship is governed by statutes 524.201 to .210; guardianship is another form of legal custody of a minor. A person becomes a guardian by acceptance of a testamentary appointment (ie will), by parental appointment, by delegation of a standby guardian pursuant to chapter 257B, or upon appointment by the court. A ward can receive public benefits: http://www.projusticemn.org/legalsteps/item.4175-VII_PUBLIC_ASSISTANCE_PROGRAMS#3
Third party custody can be awarded by the court upon proper petition if it serves the child's best interests and the parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child. Statute 257c governs this: (as explained on the state's website): Third parties also seek custody when they believe that a child's physical or emotional health is at risk if he or she has to live or remain living with a parent. For instance, if a single mother of a child dies, and the father has had little or no contact with the child (or has a history of abusive behavior, extensive drug and/or alcohol use, etc.), the relatives who have a relationship with the child may believe that the child will be harmed emotionally if she has to leave them to reside with a virtual stranger. The relatives may then take steps to become third party custodians.
A third party can also obtain custody of a child in a CHIPS proceeding when the Juvenile Court has determined that a child cannot return home and a permanent home for the child is necessary.
Standby guardianship is authorized by statute 257c and allows a parent to appoint a standby guardianship should the parent no longer be able to care for the child (ie mental/physical incapability).
And of course, there is always adoption; but since that is a permanent option most people prefer the options that can be for a specified time, or that can be reversed.
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Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
Here is a link to help locate an attorney:
www.findlegalhelp.org and http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
Of course, should you have other questions please do not hesitate to post here.
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