What to do about obtaining custody of my 10 year old child?

I just went had a temporary hearing for custody of my 10 year old child that primarily lives with her father. She recently had come to me with allegations of physical abuse by her stepmother and sexual abuse by her step-grandfather. The judge chose to let my 10 year old daughter make the choice to be left in the home with her father and stepmother after saying he believed that the abuse went on. In court he put on file that the stepmother could no longer physically punish her in any manner and banned the step-grandfather from her for life. It is documented in the temporary orders I received from the court that day. As a mother I feel that this should have been investigated more and the step-grandfather should have been investigated.

Asked on September 8, 2012 under Family Law, Louisiana

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You have a couple of different options.  First is to keep fighting for full custody.  Just because someone prevails or wins at a temporary hearing, it does not mean they are guaranteed a win at the final hearing.  However, it certainly is a good headstart.  If you were not awarded custody this time, keep doing things that show you are the better parent-- i.e. better support system for child, arranging for counseling to help with abuse, family member close by, room of her own.  These are just some examples that are parent/child focused. 

Your second step is the get an attorney if you don't already have one.  Some attorneys will allow you to make payments, while others vounteer work for certain people that cannot otherwise afford representation.  If you cannot afford an attorney, see if you can locate a local services organization in your area to provide you with legal representation.  You mention some very serious issues that would be best developed by an attorney.

Third option/step is to contact law enforcment and the local childrens' protective agencies to get them to investigate the case.... it sounds like your daughter's situation deserves more than just a docket entry.  Even if your family judge doesn't like the result, they can still work up a criminal case for prosecution.


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