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I need someone that knows and practices Georgia family law.

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I need someone that...

I need someone that knows and practices Georgia family law. I am a North Carolina resident. My 4 year old granddaughter lives in Georgia. I am her biological maternal grandfather. My granddaughter’s biological father and biological mother are both deceased, in addition to her biological paternal grandmother. My granddaughter resides with her 17 year old step brother in Georgia who will not let me visit my granddaughter.
I am concerned about the well being of my granddaughter. I am her closest blood relative. To the best of my knowledge the where no legal proceedings concerning the custody, guardianship or adoption of my granddaughter after her biological parents and grandmother passed away.
I want to take my granddaughter and raise her as my own child. What is the best approach to do this? I know I should see an attorney, but I am just asking for an opinion. File for guardianship or child custody in Georgia? Does guardianship give me more control of the child’s upbringing? Child custody proceedings in Superior or Juvenile Court? I cannot adopt the child in Georgia since I am not a Georgia resident.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in Georgia family court?

No. I do not know the best approach. There are different options.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?

LOL. I am a lawyer seeking other opinions. No kidding.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No. I explained it all.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 10 hours by:
12/22/2017
Family Lawyer: Sue, Family Law Attorney replied 7 months ago
Sue
Sue, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 626
Experience: Family Law litigator for over 35 years
Verified

Hello, I’m here to help you today. I'm a licensed attorney with over 35 years’ experience in family law.

This is general information and not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

What you can do is file for guardianship or adoption in N.C, with an ex parte motion to expedite the hearing (your N.C. guardianship of the minor statute may offer an emergency guardianship process).

In guardianship, many states had onerous notice requirements for next of kin, although there aren't many kin left in your granddaughter's case. In adoption, the only people who can consent or object are her biological and legal parents, and the biological parents are dead. Is there a legal parent, like a step-parent who adopted her?

At the expedited hearing, you can ask for a temporary custody order, sometimes called custody pendente lite.

Take that order to your granddaughter's local family court in Georgia and file it as a foreign decree. There should be a local Georgia form for filing foreign decrees, as it's pretty common in divorce, for instance. Then go pick your granddaughter up.

It's up to you whether to involve the Georgia police. They can be helpful if there's resistance, but they tend to be territorial, and will sometimes default to protecting the resident caretaker, the 17 year old.

You may be best off picking your granddaughter up from any school she attends or a day caretaker, if there is one.

There is another option, but it is fraught with unknowables: at this point, if your understanding is correct, your granddaughter has no legal caretaker, no one to make decisions for her, like for emergency medical care and for school placement. She is therefore vulnerable to her local Child Protective Service's jurisdiction, who can remove her and place her wherever they decide so she does have a legal caretaker. It might work out that they place your granddaughter with you, or they could place her, at least temporarily, with a local foster family.

You could call to enlist their services, but they will be your granddaughter's decision maker, not you. In my experience, CPS sometimes acts in peculiar ways.

You may have follow up questions, so please let me know if you do.

Sue

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Family Lawyer: Sue, Family Law Attorney replied 7 months ago

I'm going off line for a while, but I'll check back within 24 hours.

Sue

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Could not I file for guardianship in Georgia? I do not see any restrictions on the petitioner"s residency.
Family Lawyer: Sue, Family Law Attorney replied 7 months ago

Yes, you could. If there is an objection to your petition, you'd be litigating in Georgia before a Georgia judge. If you file in NC, you could litigate, if that is necessary, in your own jurisdiction.

I hope you don't mind a suggestion to address your granddaughter's trauma at losing both parents and her paternal grandmother but enrolling her in play therapy once she gets to NC. Play therapists are trained to assist young children, where traditional talk therapy isn't as effective. You can find qualified play therapists in your area here.

Again, I hope you don't mind: your granddaughter may also need help for losing her step-brother and leaving the places and things familiar to her. You might consider asking a play therapist for suggestions. In the mean time, if the boy will send some of your granddaughter's toys with her, photos of himself and her parents/other grandmother, that may help her. If he can remain appropriate, it would help her also to arrange regular phone/Skype/Facetime contact between the two.

This thread remains open about a week, so if you have other questions, please let me know.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service. I hope I have provided you the information you were seeking. If you’re satisfied with my assistance, your 5-star rating at this time is most welcome. If you need more help or have any further questions, please do let me know so I can continue to assist you.

Best wishes,

Sue

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Family Lawyer: Sue, Family Law Attorney replied 7 months ago

Is there anything else I can assist you with?

If not, I hope you don't mind a gentle reminder to please choose a rating.

Thank you,

Sue

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