How can the grandparents get custody of the children? 4 Answers as of July 28, 2011

My brother (who was recently killed by a drunk/hit-and-run driver as he was crossing the street) has three children by a woman who he was never married to. At the time of my brother's death, he had not been dating this woman for several years. At my brother's funeral, we were able to see his children. However immediately after the funeral, the children's mother said that she was moving to Bakersfield, CA. (We live in California as well, but in a different county.) She told us that she moved to Bakersfield; but, she won't tell us her new address. And the only way we are able to reach her is if we call her sister's cell phone number, which she only sporadically answers. Since the time of my brother's death, his 3 boys have told us on 2 separate occasions that they want to live with us. The boys' mother has also told us to take her kids - that she doesn't want them because they are a bother to her. However, we have no idea where they are in Bakersfield, because although she tells us to take the children she won't give us her address. She has a criminal record and several charges [DUI; drunk/disorderly conduct, brandishing a deadly weapon other than a firearm, willful cruelty to a charge (which was dismissed), etc]. We are greatly concerned about the safety of the children. We believe that there is a reason why she won't give us her address and why she rarely returns our phone calls. The children have also stated that she is using their TANF (public assistance) money on gifts for her boyfriend. A bails bondman has even called my mom looking for the boy's mother because she has skipped bail and her whereabouts are unknown. Can a parent intentionally keep the whereabouts of her children hidden from a grandparent? What are my mom's rights (as the paternal grandparent) of the boys? How can my mom find out where her grandchildren are?

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Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
It sounds like you need to file a petition for Guardianship. You may locate the mother by means of a private investigator who may track her down through her last known address.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
I am sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your son. Although grandparents do not have a specific legal entitlement to have visitation with their grandchildren, there are some exceptions to that rule. The fact that your son is deceased is s situation where the courts recognize that it is in the best interests of your grandchildren to have contact with the paternal side of the family. You may want to hire a private investigator to locate the mother and grandchildren. You may consider filing a guardianship requesting some contact with the grandchildren.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
You can hire a private investigator who can attempt to locate her. When this occurs and you know where she is you can then retain a lawyer experienced in guardianships to attempt to have your parents become legal guardians of the children. The court will have to find that it is detrimental for the kids to continue to live with their mother and it is in their best interest that they live with your mom.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/27/2011
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
You can file a motion with the court requesting visitation, or if you want further control of the children, you can request guardianship, depending the facts, such as Mother being so dysfunctional that she is exposing the children to drugs, criminal activity, and other severe harms. I would recommend that for such a serious matter, you hire a local family lawyer to assist you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/27/2011
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