Legal Custody of Granddaughter
by Cathy from Lake City, Florida, Columbia County
Legal custody of 7 month old granddaughter. I have a granddaughter who is now 7 months old, her and her mom (my daughter) lived with me before she was born and after.
The problem is the baby is a US citizen and the parents are not.
The father wanted my daughter to have an abortion and I convinced her not to, so he left her. I took care of her and the baby after she was born.
After the birth of the baby she said if I do not take her she will give her up for adoption so I decided to take the child. We left the USA and went to the Caribbean where she now lives, and I left the baby with her, who at that time was 3 months old.
In August she called saying she cannot take care of the baby, so I went and got the baby at which time she gave me a signed stamped letter telling me that she gave me legal guardianship over the baby until she is financially able to take care of her. So I brought the baby back to the USA.
The baby had lost a lot of weight and had a terrible cold and diarrhea when I got her from my daughter, so I went and got my grand-baby medical attention right away. I have not heard from my daughter for 2 months so I send some pics of the baby.
Now that she saw the pictures she wants the baby back. She is cussing and fussing saying she is not working yet, but she will hustle to feed the baby. She has no stable place to live and her boyfriend has an open house and does drugs alot and he does not work either.
I need to know do I have any legal rights at all as a grandmother and what can I do to avoid this child leaving the USA and going with her mother where I know she will suffer or probably be handed over to strangers.
Answer to Florida Child Custody Question
There are some steps that you can take to keep the child with you.
The most important consideration in child custody is the best interests of the child.
As a grandmother, you can petition the court for Temporary Child Custody
by an Extended Family Member, under Florida Statute 751.
Most often, this is a consensual arrangement, but it doesn’t have to be.
On the form itself, which is available online at many of the clerk of courts websites, there are paragraphs that pertain to a family member taking custody against the wishes of the natural parent for the safety of the child.
I rarely recommend this next step, but my suggestion is that you involve the Department of Children and Families and Child Protective Services.
Since you already have the consent of your daughter that you act as temporary guardian; those agencies should be able to help you enforce that agreement.
The fact that she changed her mind is not completely persuasive, especially if she signed a paper stating that you should take care of the child until your daughter is financially able.
If she is not financially able, then the child should remain with you. Your argument is also persuasive, because there is drug abuse in the household. Also, the child is a U.S. citizen. I’m not quite sure why the child is a citizen if neither of her parents are citizens.
But, since the child is a U.S. citizen, you could petition the court to prevent the child’s removal from the U.S. based on citizenship. You can request that the court take possession of the child’s passport, and request the court to issue an order preventing the child’s removal from the U.S.Notice:
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