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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
No, she can't. Unless she got an emergency temporary order, filing for custody does not give her any legal rights. If she has an emergency order, then she needs to serve it on your daughter. But without that, your daughter should be able to call the police and have them go with her to pick up her children. A grandparent has no legal right to keep a child from a parent without a court order. It's actually a felony to keep a child from the person with lawful custody. RCW 9A.40.060. Unless the father has custody right now and has authorized his mother to keep the children, the mother-in-law could be charged with a crime.
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Did you have any other questions about this?
I'm sorry to hear that things have gotten worse.
She can object to any illegally obtained documents being used as evidence against her. They COULD use Facebook messages that she sent to either of them, but the judge shouldn't listen to any evidence that the mother-in-law committed a crime to get.
And your daughter can also press charges for breaking into her account without her permission.
The mother-in-law seems to think that the ends justify whatever means she feels like using to keep the children, and that doesn't paint the picture of someone who is the best parent for these kids.
I'm only giving information, not advice. With that said, she can object to the hacked information being used because it was illegally obtained. Yes, there's a possibility that the judge might rule that it's allowed - but literally every single thing in a case could go the wrong way. If she walks in with the attitude that she's not going to try because she might lose, there's no point in even going to court in the first place. From your questions, it sounded like she wanted to fight, so I was giving you one way to do that. She's free not to object, but there is nothing to lose if she does.
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