Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Can I get legal guardianship of my 14 year old grandson if the mother agrees and the father doesn't?

Q: My daughter is willing to sign over guardianship of my grandson to me, but the father will not. The father's green card was taken from him and resides in the US under a work permit. The father is mentally and abusive to his son and did not start paying child support until the court ordered him to, about 4 years ago. He has lied on his documents that his son lives with him, which he does not. It is a matter of record he pays child support to the court. The father is looking to have his son live with him in order to obtain a green card and remain in the US. When his son visits him there is no supervision, he is poorly fed and left to fend for himself while the father works and leaves his son with his sister who is illegally in the US. I can provide a better life for my grandson.

A: David's Answer: More details are needed to adequately assess your situation - for instance whether the child already resides with you and if so, for how long. You ultimately would need to prove that the father has either legally abandoned the child or persistently neglected him. I'd also advise the carrot-and-stick approach - advise the mother to file a violation case against him and look to cut a deal on that case if he agrees to custody/guardianship to you.  -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody lawyer (www.blivenlaw.net)

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