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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37960
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am a 61 year old grandmother who has custody of 4 out of 5

Customer Question

I am a 61 year old grandmother who has custody of 4 out of 5 of my grandchildren. I am trying to get my 5th Grandchild. I have tried contacting DSS and have had no return calls from them at all. I received a phone call 2 weeks ago from the guardian at litem for my grandson only to be informed that there was going to be a court hearing for adoption. I just spoke with the case worker 1 week before this and there was no mention of this court date. The case has been delayed due to the father requested a DNA study be completed prior to this. He contacted me and inquired in court as to why I had not been notified. This is the only reason that this has been delayed. I want to know why I have not been considered. I have relocated to Florida and planned to have DSS open a case here and notify DSS in Horry County in the meantime. These are my daughters children. I have 4 of them now. I waited to leave SC until the older children completed school. I work full-time and have to have clearance for each of my positions. I am about to move into a new place so that I can provide a stable environment for them. My daughter remains in South Carolina. I saw my grandson every other week up until 3 weeks ago which was the last time his siblings and I saw him. He is missed horribly by his brothers and sister and I am heartbroken that he is not with us. Please help me. I don't know what I should do next. Thank you
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 months ago.

Hello Brenda:

From the information you provide, I would think you're probably as expert as any lawyer in determining the intent of a DSS caseworker in dealing with child custody, reconciliation and adoption. <smile>

I could conjure up all sorts of theories about why you have not been contacted concerning the court hearing. However, assuming that your parenting of the other children in your custody has been unremarkable (i.e., children are well socialized and thriving, etc.), then the only reason that seems credible is inadvertence. County workers are imperfect, so maybe this really is simply an oversight.

But, as you have knowledge of the hearing, there's no reason why you or your attorney can't appear and request an opportunity to be considered as the child's custodian. If you don't show up, then the court may think you're not interested. And, if you do, then the court will almost certainly take your position into consideration.

I really wish that I had some black letter law that I could point to that would show you why you haven't been considered, or why DSS is ignoring you. But, there isn't anything -- and I'm pretty sure you already know that the recommendations of DSS is almost always accepted by the court in making a disposition re child custody or foster care. Maybe if you have your lawyer contact DSS, and express your continuing desire to parent the child along with his/her siblings, that will provide a little "push" to the caseworker in preparing recommendations for the court.

Regardless, I would appear at the hearing so that the court knows you are extremely concerned and interested in being awarded custody of the child.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I appreciate your response. I am just not sure why they are not contacting me. They know I have been the only one that has visited with him. As a matter of fact I was the one that contacted them regarding my daughter caring for him. I could not legally take him at the time as I could with the other children so I was concerned and had them pick him up. They would not at the time allow me to take him. How am I going to know when the new court date is? If I don't have representation is that going to be an issue? I am just worried to death. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 months ago.

SC Code Section 63-7-1630 provides: "The department shall provide notice of a hearing held in connection with an [child dependency] action...to the foster parent, the preadoptive parent, or the relative who is providing care for a child."

From what you describe, you do not fit within the definition of any of the above persons. This may explain the reason why you haven't been notified of the hearing. An attorney can arrange to intervene and request notice from the court of future hearings. Which argues in favor of your hiring legal representation so that you are able to express your desire to assume the parental role for the child.

For a reputable lawyer referral, see this link.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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