My husband's daughter died 4 years ago in a car crash. She had two children, her son (10 )went to his father and eventually her daughter (4 1/2) went with her father.(different dads) After 1 year of living with her father and 3 different girlfriends- each time changing schools, my husband and I took her as her father didn't want her. That was 3 ayears ago and we have not heard from him in 1 1/2 years. He has not made any effort to provide for his daughter.
We understand that parents have total rights over grandparents, but we are looking for some help here. Our whole life has changed as my husband was due to retire this year.
We have 3 older sons, 44,43 and 38 and 3 adopted daughters, 22,21 and 21. We were so looking forward to retirement but cannot now.
Does anyone have any idea how to find a good lawyer to help us. He doesn't want her but doesn't want us to have custody (he will loose alot of money -in his eyes- if we got custody) We are in Connecticut
Sorry that I was short on information and long on emotion. We lived in fear as well. Even if it wasn't a real threat all we had to hear was a hint and we did whatever we could to not deny the parents anything for fear of making them angry enough to hurt us by taking the kids. We also knew that the result of either raising them was more nightmare that we could live through. That is one reason we never asked them for anything (even if they had it).
When the children were old enough to go to school it was obvious even to the parents that we needed to have legal custody to sign papers for anything official or even medical procedures as simple as shots. That is when we went to a lawyer to get advise. Back then grandparents rights were fairly new and many states, including yours, have a lot of free organizations to help you. Just do a search for grandparent laws in Conn and the list is huge. They will walk you through whatever process you need to follow to make certain that he can never reclaim the child. They can also provide support after to deal with any of the issues that could arise after. The fact that he is getting her checks and using them for himself is illegal. That may work in your favor. There are several groups that even provide free legal aid.
I can feel your terror for her. I apologise for not acknowledging that before. Best luck for all of you.
I was wishing for a lot of replies so mine wouldn't stand out so much but there must be a reason that this is standalone. PLEASE no hate mail!
My husband and I were in similar circumstances. My daughter was on drugs and unable to care for them and her husband was out of the picture except an occassional phone call to the 3 year old boy and under 1 year old girl. Getting them both to sign over legal custody wasn't hard because the state was going to go after him for money they had supplied for their care before we took them and she had no interest in fighting a court battle with anyone. We encouraged her to live with us and either could visit or call at anytime. We also became concerned about what would happen if they either one wanted the children back. Our lawyer said that the judge always awarded custody back to the biological parents. I rewrote the papers for them to relinquish custody until it sounded like they were bveing awarded medals. The fact they neither wanted the other to even get custody was on our side. We became the legal parents and felt like we need the right thing. It was noble and self sacrificing but not the right thing for them. We became isolated because people are age didn't have to plan their life around children their age. No matter how hard we tried we where never totally successful becoming close to their friends parents. We both had to sharply curtail our careers at the end of it and keep working much longer than we had planned and had much less to live on when we finally were able to. It would have been worth it if the kids had not missed out on so much while we did the right thing. If we had a big family so people closer to their parents age could have volunteered to adopt or even arrange for an open adoption with non-family I believe it would have been better for them. They were gifts to our lives and filled them with joy but there were too many times that we weren't able to keep up physically. They both just started college but now with my husband's death and my disability they probably won't have parents see them graduate, get married, have children... If it is you or the father then you probably will have to do your best for now. Find an experienced lawyer, get a family counselor to help guide you, your spouse and the girl in a well crafted parenting plan. Either or both of these people can probably advise about the steps and probabilty of adoption.
I will keep you in my thoughts. I admire what you are willing to do but make certain it is the best choice for all concerned.
Thank you for your thoughts. I am sure your grandchildren understand what you have given up to raise them now that they are older. We are just at that cross road as to what to do and fear if we do anything to get full custody, he will loose her social security check and take her from us. Her life would be horrible then as he is unstable, lives in a basement and gets fired monthly from what ever job he gets (poss. due to drugs - can't prove it though). Thanks for your thoughts