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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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Long story short...my husband and I have had our 3.5 year old

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Long story short...my husband and I have had our 3.5 year old grandson for the better part of 2 years. We were given guardianship a year ago. Mother is our daughter and has had psychological problems and has been in jail and in and out of sons life. The father has been in jail and inconsistently around also. Now the father is going to court to try to get custody...was originally given to our daughter. Our grandson is very happy and well adjusted and we are worried if the father takes him this will be very detrimental to his well being. We are really the only stability this little boy has ever had. What are your thoughts and advice on this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

The first thing I advise you to do is to get an attorney so that you have a clear understanding of the custody laws in your state.

Customer:

Thank you!

Customer:

We currently have an attorney who helped with the guardianship

Dr. L :

Since you currently have been granted guardianship, the court has a basis for understanding the role you have played in your grandson's life.

Dr. L :

If your daughter legally still has full custody of her son...then the father is fighting her.

Dr. L :

If you felt good about the attorney you used previously...then I would suggest you go back to this person to see if he/she has the expertise to continue working with you.

Customer:

that is the plan...just worried what this could do to our grandson in the long term if he were to be taken away from the only thing he has ever known

Dr. L :

In the meantime, I would gather together any evidence you have that your grandson is doing well under your care. That would include such things as pictures of him playing, laughing, cuddling with you and your husband. I would gather together drawings he has made and solicit comments from people who know the 3 of you and could verify that you have been good caregivers.

Dr. L :

Your concern is valid. From what you have written...he was bounced around in his infancy....and has blossomed with a stable home. At 3 1/2 he knows many things...what it feels like to be safe in his home and in his bed...what it feels like to be surrounded by love...

Dr. L :

Unfortunately, his past experiences with his mother and father may have led him to fear being abandoned or left alone. Has he shown any signs of this...that is, crying if you leave his side, shyness around new people or strange places?

Customer:

Yes for a short time till we intervened and then took guardianship....did think of him fearing us abandoning him...he is usually ok when going with other grandmother and daycare...just normal toddler behavior...but he was so young when he began living with us full time so this is all he knows...he does know they are mom and dad but only in name

Dr. L :

How very sad for this young lad...

Dr. L :

And how wonderful that you and your husband were there for him..willing to provide stability.

Customer:

breaks our heart ...he is such a joy!

Dr. L :

Abandonment might be an issue he fights for a long, long time.

Dr. L :

At this point, it is best to keep loving him, to keep providing him with emotional and physical safety, and to keep with the routines and schedules you have.

Customer:

and would be worse if taken from us i think...would it be a good idea to involve a local psychologist to help with this issue in court?

Dr. L :

I would imagine that the courts will ask for a psychological evaluation of the father.

Dr. L :

There may be a custody study on him, but also on you and your husband.

Dr. L :

This is nothing to fear. Please ask your attorney about this.

Dr. L :

Because your grandson is so young it would seem that the courts would not want to disrupt his life any more than it already has. If the father has been in jail, has had little to no contact with his son, and cannot prove that he can provide for his son's future...then the courts will not look favorably on his petition for custody.

Dr. L :

As I wrote earlier...start gathering data that shows what good guardians you are.

Customer:

what is a custody study...yes he needs an eval hopefully lawyer can get that for us...and father has felony charges pending till next month...

Dr. L :

In a general sense, a psychologist sits down with the individual or individuals and asks questions about the daily life of the child, asks about discipline, asks about the child's development, and so forth. It is an attempt to understand how the child is doing in their current setting...whether they are happy, whether they are developing on schedule. It is also an attempt to determine if the caregivers have bonded with the child and how well they all relate.

Dr. L :

Again, your attorney will be able to advise you as to what will be asked.

Dr. L :

When you wrote that he needs an eval...do you mean that your grandson needs this...or that the father does?

Customer:

the father

Dr. L :

Felony charges pending is a very serious issue.

Dr. L :

Okay...the father's attorney will set this up and the report will be given to both attorneys and the court.

Dr. L :

I would not worry about the study. In fact,I would welcome it as a way to show how much you care for your grandson and how happy and stable he is with you.

Dr. L :

You mentioned that your grandson spends time with his other grandmother. Do you have a good relationship with her? Would she support your keeping your grandson?

Customer:

that is a good idea....just terribly worried what this could do to him if taken away from the only home he has ever known...thank you very much...this has helped put my mind at ease a little...will be glad when over

Customer:

well she is the fathers mother...and would not be surprised if she lied for him to get what he wants...

Dr. L :

Yes...I can only imagine how worrisome this is for you! It would be a terrible thing if he is taken from you...and from his home.

Dr. L :

I don't know if in your state there are grandparent rights laws that ensure that grandparent's have access to their grandchildren. You might want to ask your attorney about this so that you don't worry about that issue as well.

Dr. L :

I would tell your attorney as well about your concerns about the other grandmother. You want to be able to defend any statements she might say against you. Your attorney can help you with this.

Dr. L :

Fighting for your grandson is the right thing to do! He needs you...and hopefully the courts will see this.

Dr. L :

You might ask your attorney how your state typically handles these situations....that might put your mind at ease as well.

Dr. L :

I think the father has an uphill battle because of his criminal history...

Customer:

Unfortunately I dont think we have grandparents rights here...but hopefully if this goes badly the court will at least give us something since they did see fit to give us guardianship

Dr. L :

Exactly!

Customer:

hoping that his history is what helps the most

Dr. L :

The court cannot ignore his criminal behavior. It is in the records!

Dr. L :

If and when a custody study comes...please think about what I said...that this is your time to show how stable a life you have made for your grandson. That's what the courts will be looking for...stability today and in the future. Anything you can do to show how you do provide for his emotional, academic, social and spiritual growth will be critical...and to show how you can and will provide these same things over time.

Customer:

You have helped tremendously! And counting on his record speaking loud and clear! Thank you very much..we do have an appointment with our attorney but seems like forever away! And these kids cant even provide a home for themselves let alone ANOTHER child...he has 1 he is living with right now

Dr. L :

Oh my...he does not sound like a responsible individual.

Dr. L :

I am glad I could be of help to you today.

Dr. L :

I wish you the best as you continue loving and caring for your precious grandson!

Customer:

LOL irresponsible is an understatement! Thank you again...he is our sunshine!

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