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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3617
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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I have been keeping my grandson Mon-Fri and sometimes on weekends

Resolved Question:

I have been keeping my grandson Mon-Fri and sometimes on weekends when can't get hold of his mother to bring him home. When he turned 5, I realized he wasn't registered for kindergarden and had poor social skills, I put him in pre-school, worked there as a volunteer to get 1/2 off tuition and paying the balance out pocket, I also buy everything he needs right down to haircuts. He started first grade in Sept 2012 and was retained bc he did not how to read, his mother was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and cannot read so there's no one home to help him with school work. She originally agreed to sign a joint custody agreement but her mother (foster mother who adopted her) talked her out of it because she has been claiming the daughter's 2 children on her taxes even though she does nothing for them but give the daughter $2K a year. Once she heard that my grand son was going to be tested for learning disability (read SSI check) she decided to take over and now she calls the shots saying joint custody is off the table and she only wants me to have 1 week end day. This lady (the foster mother) has been the payee of her daughter's SSI check until that girl turned 26 and left her house and also has full legal & physical custody of the daughter's oldest child, a 12 yr old who's disabled and gets SSI. Now she sees my grandson as another potential SSI check, I had hired a tutor to work with him during the summer so that when he's tested hopefully he wont have to be placed in Special Ed, but he was taken away from me once school ended.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

Chris T., JD :

Good evening. I'd be glad to assist you with your question.

Customer:

Ok

Chris T., JD :

So, at this point, does your daughter or the foster mother have legal custody of your grandson?

Chris T., JD :

I'm a little confused about the relationships here.

Customer:

Actually my son is the father, he's spends time with his son sometimes and owes a lot of child support but my husband and I have been taking care of my grandson.

Chris T., JD :

OK. Why is there a foster parent?

Customer:

The child's mother has physical custody and moved back in with her mom when she got evicted.

Customer:

The foster parent is my grandson's mother adoptive mother.

Customer:

My grandson's mother moved back in with her mother (former foster mother who adopted her as a little girl)

Chris T., JD :

So, your grandson's biological mother had issues (gave the child fetal alcohol syndrome), so foster parents took him and eventually adopted him. Is that correct? Sorry for the confusion on my end.

Customer:

No my grandson's biological mother was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, my grandson needed speech therapy when he was little but he's ok now.

Chris T., JD :

Just to be clear, the mother still has legal custody of the child, correct?

Customer:

Yes

Chris T., JD :

Are you looking to get legal custody, or just establish regular visitation?

Customer:

I would like joint custody or at least have access to my grandson and be involved in his education.

Chris T., JD :

New York law provides for grandparent visitation if at least one parent is deceased, or "where circumstances show that conditions exist which equity would see fit to intervene." As in all of the 50 states, visitation must be in the best interest of the child.

Customer:

My fear is that the other grandmother (I use that term loosely because she does not have his best interst at heart) would make sure stays in Special ed just so she can get an SSI check.

Chris T., JD :

All of that said, your son would be in a better legal position to argue for joint custody and to be able to make educational decisions. Grandparents have somewhat limited rights as compared to the actual parent.

Customer:

For the last 2 1/2 years, I have been the only grandmother this child has known, this lady just decided to take over now that she realized there's money to be made.

Customer:

My son has an arrest record, wont that count against him?

Chris T., JD :

It could, yes. If the court decides that neither biological parent is suitable, they would look to the grandparents, so you would be in a good position there, but there is a presumption that a child is better off with his or her parents first. That is a very strong presumption. A criminal record alone is not enough. Also, it would help his case if the court knew new that your son has a strong support system to help him.

Customer:

The child's mother is really not competent to make decisions, her adoptive mother said so. Also she was evicted because of drug use and sale in her apt. her friends who used to hang out in her apt dont want to testify, how can she be proven her unfit?

Chris T., JD :

If her mother adopted the child, then the mother has lost her parental rights, correct?

Chris T., JD :

Earlier you said that the mother still had legal custody, but you also refer to the adoptive mother.

Customer:

She lost parental rights to her oldest child, my grandson is her second child.

Chris T., JD :

Ah. I see.

Customer:

She still has legal and physical custody of her two other children.

Chris T., JD :

If you need to call witnesses about her drug use, in court you (or your son) will have the right to compel witnesses to show up by issuing a subpoena. A subpoena is effectively a court order requiring a person to show up at court at a specified time and testify.

Chris T., JD :

Your best chance of winning custody is to do it through your son. You will have to prove that your son is a more competent parent - with your help - to raise the child. Ultimately, the court is required to make decisions that are "in the best interest of the child."

Customer:

Ok, thank you very much.

Chris T., JD :

Glad to help. Do you have any questions?

Customer:

No, you've answered them all. Thank you.

Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3617
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
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