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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 29591
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My 1 year old daughter was left home alone last night under

Customer Question

My 1 year old daughter was left home alone last night under supervision of her father. Is this enough to get full custody? I have 2 witnesses that saw him at the bar when he was supposed to have her.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
It really depends on whether the child was left home ALONE, or whether she was in the care of a family member or some other baby-sitter. Leaving a child with a sitter is fine, if not the best use of a non-custodial parent's parenting time. Leaving a one-year-old home alone is child endangerment and you can not only seek an emergency change to the custody order, but you can get child services involved. That's a crime.
The judge has a lot of discretion when determining custody orders. If you bring in evidence that the father left the child home alone to go drinking, he will probably give you full custody. You can also ask that the father only be given supervised visitation until he can prove that he is responsible and able to care for a child adequately. The judge will probably order him to take a parenting class (he'd have to do this anyway if he's charged with child endangerment). Also, he could be required to take a course on alcohol abuse or enroll in a program like AA if this incident is a sign of a larger problem.
Note that if he did have a sitter, you could ask that you be given right of first refusal on providing child care. Essentially, that means, whenever he has the child but cannot watch her personally, he would have to call you before leaving her with a third party. Some judges allow that if the two of you live close enough together to make it feasible.
It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He left her home alone. I don't know how long but I have two witnesses that saw him at the bar at 11. I left for the night before 10 so he had her after that. He is denying everything. My witnesses are willing to stand in court. I'm in the process of moving so I hope that does not affect trying to get full custody. I've been the primary caretaker since she was born. I'm not sure how to begin a custody hearing.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Leaving a one-year-old alone in the house for any time at all is child endangerment. Your move shouldn't make a difference when the child is in danger unless you're moving across state lines.
The way to initiate proceedings is to file a Motion to Modify Custody. Explain to the judge what you saw (it may help to attach affidavits from your witnesses), and ask him to grant you full custody. The site has forms online.
http://courts.mt.gov/library/topic/childcustody
If you are moving across state lines, you also need to alert the judge of that plan with an intent to move. The form is on the same site.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not planning on moving out of state. There was no babysitter. Even if he didn't leave her home alone he left her in the car outside of a bar. Is child endangerment a guaranteed way to get full custody? His name is ***** ***** birth certificate, how will that effect the judges decision?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
An in-state move shouldn't make a difference in this case.
Almost nothing is guaranteed in custody cases, but a person who would leave a one-year-old alone to go to a bar should not be parenting. In the car is almost worse than at home - anyone could have broken the window and taken her. Or she could have suffocated. That's really bad. The odds are very much in your favor if you take him back to court. At the very least, the judge should make him take parenting classes, and hopefully would deny him visitation until he finished them.
If his name wasn't on the birth certificate, the process could be more complicated. But the fact that he IS named doesn't change the fact that he's demonstrated that it's not in the baby's best interests to be with him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His mother has my child and will not let me see her or tell me anything about my daughter. Do I as a legal guardian have the right to go take her? She has no custody or visitation rights.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would assume so. Can I press kidnapping charges against her?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She took her forcibly from me.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry to hear that. How awful.
The father is allowed to give the child to anyone he wants during HIS normal, scheduled visitation. So, if he had a right to the child, then no, you couldn't do anything about him giving her to his mother. You'd need a court order terminating his custody first.
During YOUR custody time, then neither the father nor his mother have any right to the child. The father could be charged with custodial interference if he asked his mother to do this. His mother would probably not be charged with kidnapping if the father gave her permission to take the child, but she could ALSO be charged with custodial interference if she was aware he had no right to the child at the time.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have no parenting plan at the moment.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Then police would probably go with you to get your daughter from the grandmother. You and the father have equal rights until there's a parenting plan, but a grandparent has no right to custody.
But it's important to get a parenting plan in place as soon as possible to avoid both of these problems from arising again.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What do I do if he has lied on court documents? And told the court I am an unfit parent with no evidence. He filed a emergency custody and told them all lies about my behavior. There are items in the parenting plan that are untrue. He has lied to the court, what should I do? I'm hiring a lawyer but he is trying to take my daughter entirely.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry, but these questions are not considered related to your original question about child endangerment. If you want to talk about the other issues in your case, I have to ask that you leave a positive rating to pay me for this question and then open a new one. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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