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Ask N Cal Attorney Your Own Question
N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9389
Experience:  since 1983
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Our daughter is -polar and currently hospitalized. Our

Customer Question

JA: Hi. What seems to be the problem?
Customer: Our daughter is bi-polar and currently hospitalized. Our granddaughter is living with her partner at her partner's parents' home.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Beth, the partner won't allow me to see my granddaughter. My daughter is determined to leave Beth when she's stable and has given us temporary custody. I would, of course, rather not disrupt Zora's life, but I also believe Beth has some mental health problems and if she won't allow me to see Zora, I want to know what my options are. The birth father lives in New York and has not seen Zora for nearly 18 months and has paid no child support. But could he challenge Sofi (our daughter) for custody, based on her illness?
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I'm in Minnesota--
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Nothing has been filed or noted. Zora will be 3 in January.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience in family law, appeals, landlord-tenant, and other types of law.

This is general information and not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed, and no attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok. Can you educate me on what my next steps might be?
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

I'm on the phone right now. Do you want me to release this question or do you want to wait? Also, need to know where the children are located and the daughter and partner are located. Thanks.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you. Unfortunately, I can't talk on the phone right now. But if there is a time tomorrow that would work, I could talk then.My daughter is here in Minneapolis and her partner and my grandsughter live in Northfield, Mn--about 40 minutes away.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

It's okay, thanks. The phone call was offered by the site, not by me, so that's okay. We can chat here if you'd like. We can also talk tomorrow instead of now if you'd like. I just got off the phone. You're most understanding, thanks! We answer questions but sometimes we get phone calls from old questions. We can talk here now if you want or tomorrow. That's up to you.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

I can be here at 12:00 noon tomorrow, which is 11:00 Central Time. Does that work for you? Either that or I can leave an answer for you here now. Your choice. Thanks!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

I thought I would leave this for you so that you could have this whenever you got here.

You don't have to worry about the father, for one thing. He has legally abandoned the child.

Under MN law,

Abandonment is presumed when:

(1) the parent has had no contact with the child on a regular basis and not demonstrated consistent interest in the child's well-being for six months and the social services agency has made reasonable efforts to facilitate contact, unless the parent establishes that an extreme financial or physical hardship or treatment for mental disability or chemical dependency or other good cause prevented the parent from making contact with the child. This presumption does not apply to children whose custody has been determined under chapter 257 or 518; or

(2) the child is an infant under two years of age and has been deserted by the parent under circumstances that show an intent not to return to care for the child.

She was under 2 when he had an intent to abandon, I'm pretty sure from what you said.

Even if she was not under 2, a) would apply because he's had no contact with the child and hasn't paid support. So it's unlikely that the father would have rights, and his rights could even be terminated.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

Third Party Child Custody Without Parental Consent

For a third party to obtain custody of a child without the consent of the child's parents, the third party must prove to be either a "de facto custodian" or an "interested third party." Additionally, the court must find that the third party's custody of the child would be in the child's best interest.

De Facto Custodian

A "de facto custodian" is an individual who has been the primary caretaker of a child who has, within the 24 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, resided with the individual without a parent present and with a lack of demonstrated consistent participation by a parent for a period of:

  • six months or more, which need not be consecutive, if the child is under three years of age; or
  • one year or more, which need not be consecutive, if the child is three years of age or older.

Interested Third Party

An "interested third party" is an individual who is not a de facto custodian but who can prove by clear and convincing evidence at least one of the factors outlined below:

  • the parent has abandoned, neglected, or otherwise exhibited disregard for the child's well-being to the extent that the child will be harmed by living with the parent;
  • placement of the child with the individual takes priority over preserving the day-to-day parent-child relationship because of the presence of physical or emotional danger to the child; or
  • other extraordinary circumstances.

In determining a Interested Third Party petition for custody, the Court must look at the following factors as well:

  • the amount of involvement the interested third party had with the child during the parent's absence or during the child's lifetime;
  • the amount of involvement the parent had with the child during the parent's absence;
  • the presence or involvement of other interested third parties;
  • the facts and circumstances of the parent's absence;
  • the parent's refusal to comply with conditions for retaining custody set forth in previous court orders;
  • whether the parent now seeking custody was previously prevented from doing so as a result of domestic violence;
  • whether a sibling of the child is already in the care of the interested third party; and
  • whether there is a standby custody designation.

Just like in a “regular” custody matter, under Minnesota law, the court must determine the best interests of the child prior to making a custody determination.

You can file for custody as an interested third party. You will want to have a family lawyer help you because this is not an easy thing to do. I never recommend for third party or grandparent custody cases to be done without lawyers. It's just too difficult to win because you need to know what has to be shown.

I am happy to look for lawyers in your area if you'd like. Just let me know if you want me to and I'd need to know where to look -- the larger city the better. Minneapolis?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

I am more than happy to answer anything else based on this question.

Please accept my answer, rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars (5, 4 or 3 stars) and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you and with your question. I work hard to give you a thorough and honest answer. Please let me know if there is more that I can do to answer your question and if you need more information such as where to find a lawyer. If not, I thank you for your rating. I can’t get credit for answering your question without your fair and honest rating.

Feel free to come back here for a follow-up question based on this one.
You're welcome to ask follow-up questions at any time, any day after I'm rated.

We are not employees of Just Answer but are independent contractors, so your rating is very important to us so that we can be reimbursed for our work. Thank you! I'd rather be given the chance to add more information than be rated negatively, so I thank you for that.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 9 months ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you or if there is any more information that you need. Thanks!


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We are just getting temporary custody and our daughter signed the papers with a notary public. My big question is, do I need to file these with the court and how would I do that?Thank you for the information you provided me, though it wasn't quite what I needed to know, it was still very interesting.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 9 months ago.

New Expert here.

Does your daughter have legal custody of the child? Are there any court orders relating to custody?