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unless the children are being abused or neglected, there is no legal basis for a grandparent to gain custody of their grandchild. It is possible for parental in-fighting to rise to the level of child abuse or neglect, but that is typically an extreme situation and a tough-sell. Of course, if the parents voluntarily relinquish the children, there is no legal issue.
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if you are advocating for the mother, the better option is to stand behind her in dad not getting the kids. If she wants to surrender the kids to you but she is unable to prove her case against the dad, he would have an argument that she really doesn't want them that badly.