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Elizabeth Powell
Elizabeth Powell, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 127
Experience:  Washington State
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What can my sister do to get her son back from our granparen

Customer Question

Our grandparents have had custody of my sisters son for almost three years now. They're gardianship is ending in December of this year. they told my sister that they will take her to court before they give him to her. The bad thing is she is not a bad person, she is trying to start her life, trying to be more involved with her som. But our grandparents do so many things to keep them apart!! So I guess what Im asking is, what could my sister do to make sure that she has no problem getting him back?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Elizabeth Powell replied 9 years ago.

Parents have a constitutionally protected right to raise their children, which is not compromised by being too young. Sounds like your sister is young. She may not be able to re-establish her relationship with her child without involving the Court.

Her child may need time to reintigrate into her life. This may need to be handled with a therapist if the grandparents have alienated the mother from her children.

A court is always going to do what is in the child's best interest. The child's best interest is balanced against the parent's interests. Parents *can* theoretically be unfit - because they have drug problems, because they have mental health issues. It happens. But what you are describing sounds more like the grandparents decided (without benefit of court oversight) that she was unable to care for her child, and demanded she hand him over and now refuse to allow contact.

Chances are the grandparents have more money and can hire counsel easier. What your sister needs is a lawyer. If she can't afford one, she can contact her county's Bar association and see if they have a clinic or a low income access to justice program where she can get help and advice.

Your sister should not be taking legal advice from her parents, she should get her own attorney to present her side of the story so she can re-establish her relationship with her child free of undue interference from her parents. Hope this helps. XXXXX XXXXX

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No my sister doesnt want to take her son. She wants to give him to me, her sister. My sister wants to take her son from our grandparents and give him to me. She thinks that I would do a better job raising her son. And I wouldnt make her out to being a bad guy like our grandparents do.
Expert:  Elizabeth Powell replied 8 years ago.
Here is the problem: Your sister has a constitutionally protected interest in parenting her son. If you - as a third-party - want to be the primary residential parent for your nephew, then you have to explain to the Court why you are a better parent than your sister, his mother. In order to do that, you have to explain why she is unfit to parent her son. So even though you and your sister have a decent relationship now, in order to convince the Court that handing her son over to you was the best thing for him, you'd have to "make her out to be a bad guy". Better would be to read again what I wrote before, because it is still the best thing I can recommend to you. If you and your sister want to reach an agreement regarding your nephew's custody, you can do that. But you have to get the boy away from the grandparents first. Hope this helps - XXXXX XXXXX

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