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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 31770
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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If an 18-year-old girl, living with her parents, had a baby,

Resolved Question:

If an 18-year-old girl, living with her parents, had a baby, and then abandoned the baby with her father and stepmother, with no contact for three years, then came back when the baby is age three and demands custody, where do the parents stand in the eyes of the law?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

If there is no court order taking away the mother's parental rights to the child, she has the legal right to take the child away from her father and stepmother.


The only way the father and stepmother can stop the child's mother from removing the child is by filing a petition in family law court to be appointed as the child's legal guardians/conservators. A court order granting the grandparents custody is the only way to stop the mother from taking the baby away.

Roger and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Is this California law?

What conditions would have to be in place for the court to rule that the grandparents rather than the mother should become legal guardians.

If they had done that before the birth mother had returned, would it automatically have been granted?

Additionally, would they have to reveal negative lifestyle choices on the mother's part, i.e. drink/drugs etc, to ensure legal guardianship?
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

It's common law, which is law recognized in all jurisdictions and states.


A biological parent has absolute rights to a child UNLESS/UNTIL a court takes those rights away or limits those rights.


In these cases, a court must do whatever is in the child's best interest. The judge considers the character of the parties involved, home environment/stability, financial stability, ability to properly care for the child, and any other relevant factors.


In this case, the grandparents would have a strong claim to be made legal guardians of the child given the fact that they are really all the child knows.


However, unless the grandparents seek and are awarded custody, they can't stop the mother from getting her child.