If I have 2 granddaughters that are under my care, should I have legal custody?

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If I have 2 granddaughters that are under my care, should I have legal custody?

I’m their grandmother and the mother sent them to me with a notary note, giving me permission to take care of them. However it seems the mother won’t be coming back at all and the father doesn’t have custody. Will this become a problem in the future? Will I have to get custody for the kids?

Asked on January 16, 2013 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You don't have to go get formal custody of the kids, but if either parent decided to pop back into the picture in a year or two-- they could come and simply take the kids from you-- because by law, their rights trump yours.... even though you have been providing the support.

While neither is interested in raising the kiddos, it would be a good opportunity to petition the courts for legal custody of the children (not just informal custody with a notary note).   Once you have a court order in place that grants you full custody of the children, then neither will be able to just come and drag the kids away when they decide they want to give "parenting a try." 

It doesn't sound like either parent is going to rush back anytime soon, so you do have some time to shop around for a family law attorney that fits your needs and your budget.  Find one that you are comfortable talking to, because this type of suit usually requires good communicatio between the client and the attorney.


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