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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Hi my name is XXXXX XXXXX live in Michigan and my son Erik met

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Hi my name is XXXXX XXXXX live in Michigan and my son Erik met a girl Rachel over 5 years ago and she had a daughter Madison that was three weeks old then. They dated and raised her together and moved in with us part time for 1 year then full time for 3 1/2 years. They finally married in 2011 and continued to live with us till August 2012 when my son finally bought their own house. Madison has always known my son Erik has her daddy and us has her Grandma and Grandpa. During the time that they lived here I raised Madison because Rachel just didn't take the responsibility of doing anything with her own daughter very seriously. She lost interest in her when she turned 2, I guess mayble she felt that Madison didn't need her as much as when she was an infant. Every one who knows us, family, friends, neighbors knows that it was I who took care of Madison 24/7. Well, this past March 6 months after being in their own house the mom Rachel had an affair and moved back to her step-fathers house and took Madison. Then she immediately moved the new boyfriend in with them and refuses to let Erik, ourselves and neither of our other kids, Madison's aunt's or uncle see Madison at all. Madison is 5 1/2 and is very upset that she does not get to see her father or family and was not happy that her mom told her that the new boyfriend could now be her new daddy. Madison is very smart for her age and knows that just can't be because she already has a daddy.

During the time when they lived at our house Madison's biological father Bryan, would come to visit on Sundays and it was going good for a while, he even said that he had no problem signing over his rights to my son because he liked him a lot and saw that he was a great dad to Madison. But, he had reservations because he did not trust Rachel to hold up her end of the bargain that he could still visit and be part of their life afterwards. He was right! After a year and half of Bryan visiting when he could he slowly slacked off and by the time she was 3 we never heard from him again. But what we didn't know was that he was still calling Rachel for visits but she was refusing him and telling us that he never called. Then by the time Erik and Rachel married she changed her mind and said that she didn't want to pursue Erik adopting Madison legally because her explanation was that by contacting Bryan that he would want to start visiting again. Erik and I have always believed that Bryan should be part of Madison's life and that Madison had a right to know her biological father. Erik and Bryan really got along well and Madison could only benefit by having 2 fathers.

Well I have recently contacted Bryan and told him of what has occurred with Rachel leaving, the divorce and now being refused to see Madison. He still would not have a problem signing over his rights to either Erik or Myself/Grandma. We don't know if that can even be done now since the divorce was final. I was just hoping that he would now try to invoke his rights as Madison's dad, and we are willing to help him with lawyer fees and child support and we could all share Madison because she has other Grandparents, Bryan's family that would like to see her as well. Well its been 2 weeks since I have spoke with Bryan and now I think he has cold feet and I do know that he has a hard time with paying the child support because he doesn't make much now. If he would still be interested in signing over his rights to Erik or Myself, is this even a possibility that it could actually be done.

6 weeks after Rachel moved back to her dad's she started sending Madison off with the new guy so that if we couldn't stop by to see her because she knows her father and brother will let us in. It makes me sick that she can send her only daughter off with this guy she hasn't known for very long but will not allow Madison's biological dad or Erik the only father she has known to even visit.

There must be something that can be done for Madison's sake!
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. The only possible legal action that can be taken here is by your son. In MI, MCL 722.26c sets forth the circumstances in which a third person may bring an action for custody under the Child Custody Act, which are:

(1) A third person may bring an action for custody of a child if the court finds either of the following:

(a) Both of the following:

( i ) The child was placed for adoption with the third person under the adoption laws of this or another state, and the placement order is still in effect at the time the action is filed.

( ii ) After the placement, the child has resided with the third person for a minimum of 6 months.

(b) All of the following:

( i ) The child's biological parents have never been married to one another.

( ii ) The child's parent who has custody of the child dies or is missing and the other parent has not been granted legal custody under court order.

( iii ) The third person is related to the child within the fifth degree by marriage, blood, or adoption.


Unfortunately, this does not apply in this circumstance. MI also recognizes the "equitable parent doctrine," but the Court observed that "y its terms, this doctrine applies, upon divorce, with respect to a child born or conceived during the marriage." See: Van v. Zahorik, 575 N.W.2d 566, 227 Mich.App. 90 (Mich. App., 1997). Thus, this does not appear to apply either.


In 2000, the US Supreme Court dealt another blow to third parties seeking visitation rights in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), which is where the Supreme Court held that the right to make decisions for a child was a "fundamental (civil) right" and that right would not be disturbed by the courts. In doing this, the Supreme Court removed the discretion of the court in situations like you described where someone helped raise a child for several years and developed a relationship from getting visitation absent the consent of the biological parent guardian. Thus, the mother as the guardian would be given the right to make this decision I am afraid.


I am afraid that the court's hands are tied in this terrible situation and unless you can negotiate something with the mother or the biological father can fight for custody rights and get custody and allows you to have visitation during his custody time, legally the law just does not provide you or your son recourse or standing in this matter.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for answering my question, I'm not surprised by this. Honestly, I believe that the courts need to catch up to the 21st century and recognize that they are not doing things in the best interest of the child. Too many mothers like Rachel use their children as object and forget that their are human beings with rights too and in the end the children almost always end up very screwed up because of situations like this. These mothers need to be held accountable for their actions, they should not be allowed to create fathers for their children like my son who is an awesome father and then be allowed to just cut off that relationship only to suit their needs. Children need both parents legal or not! In the end I know Madison will never forget us and will find us when she gets older and then it will be our turn.

Thank you for your response.

If the biological father can prove the mom is an unfit mother, then he can seek to get custody away from her and then he can grant your son legal guardianship. Right now this would likely be your only recourse based on the facts you have provided.

You are correct in that the laws have not caught up to modern society in many aspects and this issue with child custody and lack of morals in society leading to more and more single parents is an area that the law simply has not caught up to and the US Supreme Court made it worse stating that her right to make decisions for her child was a fundamental right, further removing rights of those who are legitimately concerned for the child.
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