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Grandparents with joint custody.

Discussion in 'Grandparents Rights' started by Regal, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, I'm in New Jersey and would like a little information before seeking legal counsel.

    My daughter had a child in 2014. My daughter passed away in 2017. She was not married. She had a child with a man who never supported the child. The father of the child was not once around because he was incarcerated for most of this time. Part of his incarceration was for "domestic violence with serious bodily injury" to my daughter. That injury led to my daughter being admitted to the hospital and almost loosing my unborn granddaughter. He has had a history of domestic violence against my daughter.

    My wife and I have joint legal custody of our grandchild now that our daughter is deceased. There was a hearing that the father never showed to. My wife and I know for sure that the child is his, as we had our own DNA test done while my daughter was alive. The court said that if he comes back around that he must complete anger management classes and take their DNA test to see if he is the father before he can see the child.

    I received a call from the father tonight asking if he can see the child, and If we needed anything for her.

    So my question is, is it possible to have the fathers parental rights taken away from him from the court and my wife and I adopt our grandchild. Being that my daughter passed when her daughter was just two years old, she calls my wife mommy and me daddy. My grandchild has never seen or talked to her father even when her mother was alive.
     
    mightymoose likes this.
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You should cease ALL contact with the convicted felon.

    You have NO legal duty to speak to the convicted felon.

    One day the child will know that the person alleged to have contributed to the death of the child's mother is also the child's alleged father.

    At the appropriate (perhaps inappropriate or inconvenient) time the child will know what you know today, that her/his father is responsible for savagely beating, abusing the child's mother. The beater/abuser was sentenced to prison for the battering and abusing of the child's mother, among other crimes you have neglected to mention.

    At the appropriate (perhaps inappropriate or inconvenient) time in the future, you must consider psychological counseling for your grandchild.

    You might also consider such counseling for you and your spouse, as you endeavor to parent this innocent child to adulthood.

    I pray that God bless, comfort, and keep you all under His protective arms as you traverse this very difficult charge.

    It would be foolish to accept a dime from the convicted felon and serial abuser of your deceased daughter based upon your recitation of events.

    I suggest you retain legal counsel to ensure the abuser of your child and convicted felon remains out of your peaceful, productive lives!
     
    Regal likes this.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Of course, it's "possible." But the reality is that he still has his parental rights and he can enforce them in court unless you can show that he is a danger to the child now.

    I agree that you should consult an attorney but the other tactics may precipitate a custody battle (with potential loss of custody) when a bit of cooperation may forestall it.

    Consider hiring a private investigator to check the guy out. A lot might have changed in the past 6 years. Or, you might get enough ammunition to fight him off with.
     
    Regal likes this.
  4. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    It seems to be the case that a court has already built some hurdles he will have to jump before he can see the child. You need to contact a lawyer and provide the order the court has issued.
     
    Regal likes this.
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    As far as I can tell, the alleged father has no rights because his paternity has never been established. If that's correct, it is not possible to take away that which does not exist. You can seek to adopt but would have to give the alleged father notice and an opportunity to object.

    That's unfortunate.
     
    Regal likes this.
  6. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I want to thank everyone for their reply.

    I was supposed to call him back today after speaking with my wife last night and see what she thought about this situation.

    I have not called him back and I plan not to call him back. I do however expect a phone call from him over the next few days. If/when he calls, I'm just going to tell him he needs to contact a lawyer to speak to the court on his behalf as my wife and I don't want to violate the court order that stands in effect today.

    Hopefully he has no money and moves on with his life. My wife and I plan on speaking with a lawyer by the end of this week. I will follow up with any information that attorney tells us.

    The attorney we plan to speak with told us after we got the court order and joint custody, let's just forget about anything else right now as it will cost us more money and we really don't need her any longer until we receive something from the court on his behalf. The lawyer we plan to use is also a municipal court judge and knows of his background. I think he may have had a few unrelated issue in front of this judge (not family law but criminal and motor vehicle related), is that a conflict of interest if she represents us in county court? The court order in effect is from a county family court. He also has a charge that he has already served of criminal restraint that was also in addition to the DV with SBI against my daughter that he went to state prison for.

    I also see that you could lose your parental rights in NJ if you abandon your child. He had court ordered child support while my daughter was alive, but she never collected a dine. When my daughter died, he somehow went to court to get the child support removed (if I remember right, this took place during his incarceration). We never showed thinking he would move on with his life and we didn't need his support anyway, so the judge dismissed his child support. What constitutes "child abandonment" in NJ?
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Is there a court order that specifically restricts him from having contact with the child? If not, then I would leave that statement out.
     
    Regal likes this.
  8. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised that a court would order support without first having proof of paternity. Unless it was a default order.
     
    Regal likes this.
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Abandonment is further defined by N.J.S.A. 9:6-1, which states:
    Abandonment of a child shall consist in any of the following acts by anyone having the custody or control of the child: (a) willfully forsaking a child; (b) failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that a child shall be exposed to physical or moral risk without proper and sufficient protection; (c) failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that a child shall be liable to be supported and maintained at the expense of the public, or by child caring societies or private persons not legally chargeable with its or their care, custody and control.



    “`The statutory notion of abandonment … any conduct on the part of the parent which evinces a settled purpose to forego all parental duties and relinquish all parental claims to the child.'” Lavigne v. Family & Children’s Soc’y of Elizabeth, 11 N.J. 473, 480 (1953) (quoting Winans v. Luppie, 47 N.J. Eq. 302, 304 (E. & A. 1890)).

    Similarly, in the context of a termination of parental right's case, “[a]bandonment requires a finding that parents, although physically and financially able to care for their children, willfully forsook their parental responsibilities. The concept of abandonment entails a willful surrender or intentional abdication of parental rights and duties.” In re Guardianship of K.L.F., 129 N.J. 32, 39 (1992) (citations omitted).

    For abandonment, the caretaker must “evince[] a settled purpose to forego all parental duties and relinquish all parental claims to [the child,]” Lavigne, supra, 11 N.J. at 480 (quoting Winans, supra, 47 N.J. Eq. at 304), or engage in a “course of conduct amounting to intended abandonment … with no reasonable expectation of any reversal of that conduct in the near future,” In re Adoption of Children by D., 61 N.J. 89, 94-95 (1972).
     
  10. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm going to look for the order and tell you what it says.
     
  11. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The child support was issued first. Then on a later date, after the hospitalization of my daughter the judge added no contact with the child until anger management classes and DNA issued from the court to prove he is the father. .
     
  12. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So it looks like this will not apply?
     
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I think the law does apply, as I read the statute.
    I'm sure there's plenty of cases out there that further explain parental abandonment.
    The fact that he has YET to pay a penny towards the child's care screams abandonment to me.
    However, a NJ lawyer is one of the best sources for the reading of NJ law.


    The attorney you eventually retain should guide you as to whether the batterer abandoned the child.

    Based upon what you've revealed here, the beast caused the child's mother to die at his hand, which resulted in his abandonment of the child when he was incarcerated in a state penal colony.

    If I were you, I'd focus on caring for, nurturing, loving, and consoling the child.

    The lawyer will be well compensated by you and your wife, for which handsome sum received, he or she will determine the legalities involved in routing the dangerous beast from your lives.

    God bless you and your wife, you're truly two of God's angels.
     
    Regal likes this.
  14. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Update,
    I spoke with our attorney, she told me to communicate with him one more time and then stop all contact until something is received from the court. This is the response to the text he sent me asking to see the child.

    Sent via text:
    As the legal guardians of the child, we are required to comply with all court orders, including the order which bars you from contact with the child.

    She said the ball is now in his court.

    Now, outside of being an attorney, she is a municipal court judge. She has had the father in her courtroom and has dealt with criminal law against him. She has never represented him. I asked her if that would be considered a conflict of interest. She said that she does not believe so and she would check with a few other judges she knows.
     
  15. Regal

    Regal Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, we found it and the attorney told us to make a few copies for ourselves.
     
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