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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32369
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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To start, my girlfriend has shared custody of her 5 yr. Old

Customer Question

to start, my girlfriend has shared custody of her 5 yr. Old son with his father's mother ( the grandmother). The grandma gets food stamps and other cash assistance for the child. Both the father and my girlfriend pay child support. For the past 9 months the child has been in our care 20 or more days a month, meaning for most of the time we get him from school and he sleeps at our home. The state also covers daycare that we use if he is out of school for vacation but my girlfriend and I pay for a daycare during the week that he gets dropped off at by the bus and we get him after work. We have been the only ones to pay for that except for $25 dollars. We pay $30 a week. The agreement with the court is verbal between the grandmother and my girlfriend but there is a clear power issue with the grandmother. Sometimes she is fine, we get in a routine then out of the blue she makes it hard. She never asks to take him, she always tells us she is taking him no matter what. The father can only see the child supervised, and for the past 9 months he has probably seen the child 13 times. Recently my girlfriend filed for full custody. The day that the grandmother was served, she called my girlfriend and said that If my girlfriend was smart, she wouldn't go through with it because if she did then she was going to have her audited by the IRS because my girlfriend filed claiming her son. Reason being that he was at our home most of the time and she has never been able to since the child was born 5 years ago because the father or grandmother would cheat her out of it. Our biggest concerns are that when the child is with the grandmother he has no real structure, his homework isn't done,( there is a sign off sheet in his school notebook and she never signs it). The child is always tired when he comes back to our house during school week because he says he stayed up late with grandma. When he is with us he has to go to bed @7. We also can't successfully get him to stop wetting the bed because it is not enforced at her house. My girlfriend has been keeping a journal for the past nine months logging everything from his mood, who he was with, what's we did or anything that happens between her and the grandmother. So my question is, what kind of position are we in? Or what advice can you give on what else we could do to help our case?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 6 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

As far as the IRS, unless you are going against a court order then they aren't going to get involved and you would be fine in an audit. The issue is who is providing for the child and it would like, clearly, you are.

It is always difficult to change the custody of a child. However, the biggest difficulty is in proving that the mother is a fit parent and this is where the grandmother is about to get bit by a double edged sword because when she claims the mother can't care for the child then she has to explain why the child has been with the mother so much. If the mother wasn't fit then it was negligent for the grandmother to allow the child to go over there and stay.

I have found that judges are very, very tired of grandparent custody cases so that works in your favor as well.

The only other thing I can tell you, although you're free to ask any follow ups you would like, is that documentation is everything in these type of cases so the more things you have the better off you are.

Is the mother representing herself or does she have a lawyer?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
We are currently looking for a lawyer to represent her, which will help a lot because they have been to court a few times already and the grandmother has never had a lawyer. My girlfriend has never had one either up to this point because she made to much for a court appointed lawyer and not enough to pay for one, but we saved. Now as far as all the assistance that the grandmother receives from the state, she has changed her job twice since it was first implemented, making more now. And we believe that she has not been reporting her income. If this was found to be true, could this help us in any way? I only ask because my mother has full custody of my nephew and she doesn't qualify for half of the stuff that the grandmother receives and she also makes less then the grandmother.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 6 months ago.

It isn't supposed to help, but it will play a part in the judge's mind. Her not reporting income is a rabbit trail, don't mess with it at trial.

Your lawyer will know how to handle that though depending on the type of evidence he/she can find. He will likely do discovery to get that info because sometimes it can be devastating IF done absolutely correctly. If done badly then it backfires as it generates sympathy.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you very much, that is all the questions I have at the moment. I appreciate your time.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 6 months ago.

You're very welcome. It was a pleasure assisting you.

Best wishes to you and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.