ASK BUD

Grandparent  – “How can a grandparent get custody?

Bud asks – “Tell me about the relationship.”

Grandparent: “I had a very close relationship with my granddaughter, Ivy (name changed for confidentiality), for a few years, and then her mother took herself and Ivy away from my son and just …disappeared! She showed up again after two years, but she’s gotten into drugs in a big way. She is putting Ivy into bad situations! I want to get custody of Ivy, but I’m only a grandparent. What are my rights?”

Bud: “I have some questions: Did Ivy live with you in a kind of parent-child relationship? Did Ivy’s parents sign anything authorizing you to be in that relationship? Were you acting by Court Order? Where is your son now? Is he fit to be a parent?”

Grandparent: “The Court did put Ivy in my care for a while. But then her mother “got better” and the Court Ordered Ivy back to her mother.  After a little while her mother relapsed, and now it’s the same old thing.”

Bud: “Where’s your son?”

Grandparent: “In jail, and he’ll be there for a long time.”

Bud: “You do have a chance at getting custody. Ivy was decreed to be a ‘dependent child’ under a child protective law, and you were acting ‘in loco parentis’. That’s one of the several circumstances that gives you the right to seek custody of your granddaughter.”

A few months later, Grandparent returned with terrible news. “My son was so distraught that he got some bad drugs in prison, and he O.D.’ed last week!.”

Bud: “I am so sorry for you! But there’s a silver lining to that news: Your son’s death makes it easier and clearer that you are entitled to some form of custody regarding Ivy.”

Grandparent: “What kind of custody? It would be best for Ivy if she is in a safe and stable environment. I can provide that!”

Bud: “I agree. Here is what we need to do. Once we establish that you have a right to seek some form of custody of Ivy, we then show the Court that It would be in Ivy’s best interests for you to have primary physical custody and her mother to have some kind of supervised visits. We’ll get into what we need to prove in Court when you come to my office.”

Bernard M. Berman