Can I get custody of my grandson, or petition that I have primary custody? 11 Answers as of June 13, 2013

My grandson (4) and his mother have been living with me since his birth. Dad only got visitation every week at first then was changed to two weeks and we got him one weekend a month. My daughter has a drug problem and I had to take drastic measures and kick her out. She is now seeking help, living elsewhere and is allowed supervised visitation here at the house. I did not try to get custody at the time. He is now with his father who has primary custody. Since then, my grandson's behavior has become very defiant and is stressed to such a degree that he is peeing in his pants, etc. He is afraid of his father and begs to come back to my home. I'm trying to work with father in building a relationship with son but he has no patience and continuously takes all his things from him as punishment and keeps him in his room. The child never smiles when I have taken him there and begs not to go. The father is married with a stepdaughter. Now he says my grandson cannot come over and visit for the weekend because of behavior at school. I realize now, that I should not have trusted him to keep his word. It's all about control with him as always. The change in the situation has become very detrimental to the child's emotional stability and I have fears on how he is treated. Granted he is fed, clothed, and housed but there is so much more that needs to be considered. The father says he will not deal with his behavior anymore. So much for positive reinforcement attempts. I'm stressing about the welfare of my grandson and want him to come back to the only stability he has ever known and that is with his grandfather and me. Do I have a legal leg to stand on?

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Brad Micklin | Brad Micklin
In a custody dispute between a natural parent and a third party, such as a grandparent, a presumption exists in favor of the biological parent. That presumption can be rebutted by proof of gross misconduct, abandonment, unfitness, or the existence of exceptional circumstances. Only after that presumption has been rebutted, should the court decide whether awarding custody to the third party would promote the best interests of the child. You should make an application for custody, or at the very least, a visitation schedule, in the superior court, chancery division, family part, in the county in which your grandchild resides.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 11/16/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
Yes, you need to meet with an experienced custody/guardianship attorney.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 6/13/2013
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
You have a couple of options. You can file a guardianship case and fight father for custody. Or you can file a grandparent petition to get visitation rights. If you seek custody orders, you might be better off filing a guardianship case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/13/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
Not really. Your daughter would have to intervene to secure full custody to have control. You may file for visitation, but with both parents alive custody is not an argument for you. Sorry.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/12/2012
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You could file a guardianship action in probate court to obtain guardianship of your grandson.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/12/2012
    Law Office of Beth Jackson Day | Beth Jackson Day
    It's very difficult to get visitation as a grandparent in Md. If you want to try you must file a Complaint for custody and a Motion for a psych evaluation of dad and your grandson. Explain the change in behavior and ask for a hearing. The Circuit court has the forms you need to fill out.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Please consider meeting with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the option of a temporary or permanent guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    Based upon your fact situation, I am sorry to say that it would be very unlikely, next to none, that a court would grant you custody. First, the father has a constitutional right to raise his son. There are circumstances, such as physical or sexual abuse or extreme instances of neglect, where you might prevail. But you do not cite those. Secondly, you as grandparents have only limited rights to any visitation. Third, the child's father is remarried and there are other children in the home. This would make it difficult to prove any neglect. In conclusion, your daughter is the key to your input in your grandson's life. You might contact a lawyer in your area because there may be differences in state law. But just remember that the father has pre-eminent right as custodial parent. He does north have to let you visit with your grandson. So, the best bet is to make peace with the father.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    John Russo | John Russo
    No, not unless the state steps in again like they did with the mother. And I don't know who you have been talking too but you could not have received custody of this child even back at the beginning, the only options you would have had were, a legal guardianship, and/or if the father was not around a possible adoption. Only parents or the State can have custody of children.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    File a petition for guardianship of your grandson in probate court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    James Family Law Firm, P.C. | Amber Yerkey James
    You can petition for custody, but as you stated in your questions, it can be very difficult. You have to prove that the Father is unfit to have custody of the child in order to take custody from him. You need to meet with an experience family law attorney in your area to see if he or she believes that you have enough to prove your grandson's father unfit.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/12/2012
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