Can I keep a child from a woman who is not taking care of her? 18 Answers as of December 06, 2011

There's this woman I know who has two children. I have the youngest, now 3. The majority of the week she is at my house. Her mother doesn't feed her properly, always comes to me with bruises and always has a summer jacket on in the snow. She comes to me dirty and hungry. She is going to be made my goddaughter next year. Her mother cries and is delusional. She makes up stories and cries a lot. She is a bad mom and always has been. I just want to know legally what I can do. If I tell her mother I am keeping her until she sorts things out and if not I will keep her full time will this be kidnap?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You can file an action for guardianship of the child, if you feel that her mother is not a fit parent. Be aware, however, the notice of the guardianship proceedings would have to be given to the child's father (as well as the mother), and he could contest the guardianship.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/5/2011
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
No, you cannot just decide to keep a child or withhold the child from its mother's care and custody under the circumstances described. If you believe that the child is not being properly cared for and/or is the subject of abuse, you should report it to Child Protective Services (CPS).
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 12/5/2011
Pierce Family Law | Rodney Pierce
You have no right to take a child from the parents. If there is a significant problem, you may need to go to court and pursue a third party custody action against the mother and father as to why they would not be able to care for a child now and in the future.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/5/2011
Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
Keeping the children could be considered kidnapping. You should contact Child Protective Services of Department of Human Services and make a complaint.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/5/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
Because you are not a one of the bio-parents, and, apparently, have no court ordered authority to hang onto the children, it could be viewed as kidnapping. If you are serious about trying to protect the children, I think that the first thing to do would be to get CPS involved. Second, I think I would hire an attorney, and have that person start a third party custody action on your behalf.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. If you do not have a court order granting to you custody or guardianship of the child, keeping the child away from the parent may support criminal charges against you. If you believe the child is endangered, you must report the matter to Child Protective Services.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg
    Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg | Jane Ginsburg
    It sounds like you might want to call Children's Protective Services. Someone who is not a parent does not have the right to a child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    If the mother is not caring for her child, you may want to let DYFS know.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    Marca Tanner Attorney at Law | Marca Tanner
    Keeping a child from a parent without having actual physical custody of that child is kidnapping. If you believe that the child is being neglected or abused, call child protective services, or Department of Families and Children here in Utah. This seems like this case would be ideal for DCFS to handle. They can remove a child from a parent pending determination of fitness, but you cannot. You cannot keep a child from a parent who has not been declared unfit legally.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    Though it sounds like you are playing an important and necessary role in the child's life, you would have no legal right to keep the child against the mother's will. I urge you to contact Child Protective Services, or the police department, an d tell them of your concerns for the health and safety of the child (in fact, both children) while in the mother's care.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You have no legal status until a court gives you custody or guardianship. In Colorado you probably don't meet the necessary tests to be able to do anything over the parents' objections. You should contact the child protective services division of the DHS so that they can determine whether or the child has been neglected or abandoned. If dependency and neglect are found, a court could give you legal custody until the mother gets her act together.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If you are not the biological parent you have no basis for custody. If the mother is treating the child so poorly, why haven't you called child protective services.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You have no legal rights to the child. Call CPS.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Unless you have a court order from a judge, you have no right to the child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Kidnapping is the asportation of an individual against their will. Yes, you would likely be kidnapping the child, or at the least, depriving mom of her rights. If you are in Cuyahoga County, call 216-696-kids. Explain that you are caring for the child and want to continue to do so. Tell them what you wrote here. This is the kind of case DJFS handles best. Good luck and God Bless.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You may want to consider filing a guardianship petition to request that both children reside with you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Linda C. Garrett Law
    Linda C. Garrett Law | Linda Garrett
    I don't sense you are the father. If you are not the father, then the usual course of legal action is for the concerned party to request that the concerned party appoint them as the child's legal guardian. To do this, the concerned party would file a petition with the probate court seeking guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney