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My daughter is 52, has what looks like terminal cancer and

can't take care of them...
My daughter is 52, has what looks like terminal cancer and can't take care of them by herself. My husband and I have been there a lot for the children and formed bonds especially with my grandson who has down syndrome. Put me in a room with any one and he will want me. My daughter is gay. Her former partner who shares joint custody of the children has put a wedge between us and my daughter and the children. My daughter has been in and out of court to have full custody because the partner is a drug addict. As of yesterday, we are not allowed to see them. She is paying the ex partner to take care of her now duties that for the most part myself and a really good friend were doing. My daughter is paying her to take care of her and the children...her own chidren. Problem is, my grandson who was injured in therapy has or had a substantial trust to be used only for his needs. Between my daughter and the ex partner who has a history of drug issues, his trust fund is being used to pay the partner and for other uses. My daughter is very sick and vulnerable and will do anything to keep this ex partner by her side even at the cost of alienating her family and denying the children the love of their grandparents. I think my daughter will die soon. The ex partner has a history of only being around when there is something to be gained. my grandson is the love of my life and want to protect his trust fund for his future. He is 11 now. What can I do to have the children in my life and protect them from the manipulation in that household. As a for instance, the ex partner several years back applied for social security for my grandson and then spent it on car payments until she was caught doing it. She is in it for the money. My fear is when my daughter dies she will use the children to apply for aid and use it for drugs. She is getting paid to take care of my daughter and her children from the trust fund. My heart is breaking for that little boy who needs me. No one loves him as much as I do. HELP.
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
8/26/2013
Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,620
Experience: Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question. You said that the ex partner has a history of only being around when there is something to be gained, and you mentioned the ex partner's drug history and history of manipulation. So, if we assume that these things are all true, it would clearly not be an ideal place for a child to be raise. However, it's not clear to me how bad the situation is for your grandson. In your estimate, is your grandson in danger of abuse or neglect?

Customer:

Hard to say. I don't think there is physical neglect,

Brandon M. :

I understand. If you had answered "yes", the next question would have been what evidence you have of that endangerment. Based on your answer, it would seem like there isn't a clear danger--just a general mistrust of the ex partner's mindset and abilities.

Customer:

He is a different child at that house. He is quiet and remote. The moment I get him in my car to take him to my house or an outing he becomes a different child. He is happy, laughing and hates to go back home, but this could just be that he loves me so much he hates to see me leave.

Brandon M. :

Has the child ever lived in your home?

Customer:

I have had him overnight on a lot of occasions. He loves it there. What about his trust. He will need that as he grows older. What can be done to preserve that?

Brandon M. :

How long has it been since you visited with your grandson last?

Customer:

I saw him last Sunday at a birthday party I gave for my daughter. The ex partner was looking for a fight with me all day and told a lot of lies...she had to bring us to this point. You have to know my daughter has a strange way, not quite normal. She is blaming us for her cancer and the doctors, anyone but herself for a disease whose symptons she ignored for years. She has refused treatment which is why she is dying. She is on hemp oil that keeps her a little high.

Brandon M. :

What exactly is the ex partner's legal relationship to your grandson? Parent, or guardian?

Customer:

There was a sperm donor and she carried him. So she is classified as a parent.

Brandon M. :

Is your goal custody of the child, or just visitation?

Customer:

If she gets custody, which I will fight, after my daughter dies she will put him in an institution. She mentioned that in a court custody hearing when my daughter applied for and got full custody at that time due to the drugs. As for your question, my ultimate goal is custody after my daughter is gone, but I will not him away from her while she is alive...so visitation for now.

Customer:

Are you there?

Brandon M. :

Ok, because so much is at stake, I strongly recommend getting an attorney to help with your case. So let nothing that I say her detract from the fact that you need an attorney to ensure that your rights and your grandson's interests are protected.

The good news is that California courts can grant grandparent visitation if it is in the best interests of the minor grandchild. Where the grandparent and grandchild have an established relationship, this is usually pretty easy to do. I'd like to direct you to the relevant Family Code sections (3100-3105): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fam&group=03001-04000&file=3100-3105

Brandon M. :

Please take special note of Family Code sec. 3104. The relationship of the parents to each other sometimes has to meet certain criteria.

Brandon M. :

Custody is a bit more difficult. Custody of a minor child can be granted to a non-parent through a guardianship. Guardianships allow a non-parent to take custody when the parents are either unable or unwilling to care for the child, which includes protecting the child from abuse or neglect. Part of the reason I believe you need to speak with an attorney now is so you can start laying the groundwork for a guardianship petition once your daughter passes.

Customer:

I will make an appointment with an attorney. What do you think my chances are?

Customer:

Thank you. I don't think the ex partner really wants him...just as a meal ticket which bode well for us in court...yes?

Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,620
Experience: Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
Verified
Brandon M. and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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The chances are good enough that it is worth pursuing. I don't know you or any of the other people involved, so I'm only getting one piece of one half of the information in a story involving people I have not met in a family dynamic that I have not observed, so I wouldn't estimate your chances because the child's best interests is the key to the outcome and I have no reliable way to estimate what is in the child's best interests other than what you tell me.

As for whether the "meal ticket" issue would work to your benefit... well, it certainly won't hurt! It can just be difficult to prove, and even then what matters is how the child feels and is treated more so than how the parent feels. But, as I said, it certainly won't hurt.
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