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|Posted on March 30, 2015 at 10:50 AM||comments (45)|
There are three conditions where grandparents can petition the Children's Court for custody of their grandkids. The New Mexico Grandparents Visitation Privileges Act provides the following scenarios:
We discussed one of those scenarios in our November 28, 2014 installment. That article focused on the Kinship-Guardianship process whereby grandparents can petition for custody and guardianship for their grandchildren in cases where the biological parents have left the children with grandma and grandpa for an extended period of time and with no real end in sight.
The second scenario is pretty easy to understand and that's when the child's or children's parent dies leaving the grandparents as the children's only suitable family to parent them. Sometimes this situation is covered in the biological parent's will or estate plan. Oftentimes it's not and the parent's death is quite unexpected.
The third situation is during any legal separation, divorce, or paternity case involving the children. For example, the parents are divorcing, grandparents can basically intervene in the case and petition the district court for custody of the children.
These scenarios are just that and do not guarantee that the grandparents will prevail. The Court must consider what is in the best interests of the child, the very same standard that the Court applies in all cases dealing with child custody. Often grandparents will need to prove through expert testimony why the Court should grant them custody as opposed to one of the biological parents or perhaps another intervening grandparent(s).
Another situation is a pending child abuse/neglect case. If the children are taken into CYFD custody because of allegations of suspected abuse/neglect by the biological parent(s) the grandparents can contact CYFD and fight for custody. In these types of cases there's a presumption that the child should be staying with blood relatives such as grandparents. The basic caveats are that the grandparents can provide a safe environment etc.
If you have additional questions, please contact me. Thanks
|Posted on November 28, 2014 at 8:43 PM||comments (109)|
Grandparents and Child Custody Part 1
The Holidays seem to bring out the questions in people and a couple of folks have asked about their rights as grandparents when it comes to physical custody of their grandchildren. Sometimes children are left with grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other family members by the child’s parent for one reason or another. And usually this is done in the best interests of the child or children. What do you do when a weekend becomes six months and mom or dad are nowhere in sight? What can a grandparent do to protect their grandkids when they know the parents are engaged in dangerous or immoral behavior?
The New Mexico Kinship Guardianship Act Kinship Guardianship (NMSA §40-10B-1 et seq.)
The statute is meant to address the issue of when parents leave their children with their parents, siblings, or friends. The law helps the new guardians protect and care for the children while the parents are “taking a time-out” for lack of better terms. If the parents fight the petition, they must appear in Court. A guardian ad litem is appointed to represent the child’s best interest or the teenaged child. The Court then must decide what is in the child’s best interest while considering the petition for kinship-guardianship.
But what if the above scenario is not the case? What if your daughter is an unfit mother and who knows where dad, what then? Find out in our next installment.