Can grandparents have rights to grandchildren?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2011

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Can grandparents have rights to grandchildren?

My brother was told by his wife that she wants a divorce and wants to do it out of court. She has someone drafting up the papers and wants him to just sign. My parents and I are warning my brother not to sign anything. They have one child together. My bother was diagnosed with a mental illness and has been suffering from depression with all his troubles with his wife. She believes he is a threat but he isn’t. I know she is going to try to get him to give up custody. My parents said she has already opened another bank account and transferred a lot of their assets. What can we do? Is there a way to protect someone who is mentally ill so that they are not taken advantage in a divorce?

Asked on January 16, 2011 under Family Law, New Mexico


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  It may be best for either you or your parents to apply to become the conservator or guardian of your Brother or at the very least his Power of Attorney.  This way he can not sign away his rights here.  You need to do so quickly to prevent his wife from dissipating assets - transferring money or selling property is considered dissipation of assets.  And as for your question about grandparent rights, yes, New Mexico recognizes that grandparents have rights when there is a divorce that occurs in their family.  There are various factors that the courts consider. Seek legal help on all issues here.  Good luck.

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