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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    3

    Default Getting Custody of our Grandchild from a Mentally Ill Mother

    My question involves child abuse or neglect in the State of: PA
    My daughter was diagnosed with Bipolar/Schizoaffective disorder. She has a 7 year old son and is still married. She has become paranoid again thinking that someone is out to kill her but she is unwilling to seek treatment as she thinks her delusions are real. (This happened last year and we were able to convince her to get help.) I can't get through to her or her husband, this time, that she needs help. Her husband is in denial of her illness and his only concern is that she is being unfaithful to him. My concern is for my grandchild who is NOT showing any signs of physical abuse but many signs of emotional distress-he has developed many facial 'tics', among other things. My question: What type of attorney would (or even could) handle this situation? I have spoken with a social worker who recommended I see an attorney. How possible is it that my husband and I could get custody of our grandson?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    27,309

    Default Re: Daughter with Bipolar/Schizoaffective Disorder-Can We Get Custody of Her 7 Year O

    You would have to prove BOTH parents unfit.

    Also, PA has very strict requirements when it comes to third party custody cases. If the child is truly in danger, CPS needs to be involved. That really is the only way you're going to stand a chance at getting custody since you don't meet the other requirements.

    (And even then there's no guarantee you'd get him - he may well end up in foster care).
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Daughter with Bipolar/Schizoaffective Disorder-Can We Get Custody of Her 7 Year O

    Thank you for such a quick response. It was the answer that I expected- not hoped for-but expected.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    27,309

    Default Re: Daughter with Bipolar/Schizoaffective Disorder-Can We Get Custody of Her 7 Year O

    You're welcome.

    It is very difficult watching a mentally ill child go through their ups and downs - I know this very personally. But, it doesn't make them legally unfit as parents. The acceptable standard of parenting is actually depressingly low.

    Your grandchild is at school, yes? Being 7 years old? Well, though they're not trained psychologists or anything of that nature teachers are often very astute and if they notice that something isn't "quite right", and it's a cause of concern, they are legally required to make a report to CPS.

    So though it's hard, what you can do at the moment is stand back and make your daughter aware that you will support her, and will help out if needed.

    It's terrifically difficult being the grandparent in these situations. I do wish you well, and I do hope that eventually your daughter and her husband will find a comfortable zone where they can parent effectively.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Daughter with Bipolar/Schizoaffective Disorder-Can We Get Custody of Her 7 Year O

    I am so sorry to hear that you also have experience with a loved one with a mental illness. It is painful and exhausting.

    My grandson is in school-first grade and a very good student. He is very gaurded, defensive with his feelings and thinks that expressing them will get him into trouble. It will be hard for anyone to see what he is truly experiencing.

    You are so right regarding the acceptable standard of parenting. It reminds me of a quote from the movie "Parenthood": "You need a license to have a dog and even catch a fish but they will let any a..hole be a parent". (I mean no disrespect to my daughter.) Just an interestingly true statement.

    Once again, I am truly grateful for your time, and compassionate response. Actually, I feel a little more at peace now knowing that I really have very little, if any, control over the situation. I needed to know the legal aspect of that. I wish you all the best as well.

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