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  1. #1

    Default Can a Biological Mother Regain Custody

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: New Jersey.

    My cousin (Mother) abandoned her child when he was 6 months ago (he is now nearly 2.5 years old). She has since had another child and lives with another man (not the same father as my cousin). The father sees his child once a week for a few hours. Neither pay child support. I have custody of the child and would like to follow through with adoption (the mother would fight me on, the father would not). The mother has never went to court for vistations, however I fear that she will eventually go back to court to regain custody. The child has a stable life with my husband and I, calls us both "mom" and "dad" and is not only financially secure with us but emotionally and physically too. The mother does not have a job and has dropped out of school and went back several times - still not completing her dimploma/GED. She has also been brought up on welfare fraud for collecting money after she abandoned the child. The father of her new child has bi-polar disorder and is a registered sex offender. The mother lives with her new boyfriends parents.

    My question is: What would the process or likihood be of the Mother regaining custody?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can a Biological Mother Regain Custody

    The process would be she files for custody. The her likely success is another matter. Stirring the pot, when she is interested might cause problems. I would sit on the issue and make her push. If you bring it to court, you saved her the money. The longer a court action is delayed, the better your case becomes.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can a Biological Mother Regain Custody

    Quote Quoting FightingForACause
    View Post
    Neither pay child support.
    Have they been ORDERED by a court to pay child support?


    I have custody of the child
    Do you mean that you have legal guardianship? Was this ordered by the court?



    The mother has never went to court for vistations,
    Whether or not that is relevent depends on the legal status that brought the child into your care. If mom just turned the child over to you, then mom doesn't need court ordered visitation, she can just show up and take her child. If the court made you the child's legal guardian, and didn't set out any visitation for mom, then that works against mom and benefits your quest for adoption.


    however I fear that she will eventually go back to court to regain custody.
    Whether or not she'd have a shot at that depends on the nature of the circumstances that brought the child to you in the first place. Generally speaking, courts do want to do everything possible to reunite children with their parents (such as giving a parent time to complete drug treatment and pass a few random drug tests). In this case however, with more than two years of history of you caring for the child, and no contact from mom, adoption would be likely - so long as the other parent, dad, is willing to bless the adoption, you probably have a decent shot at getting the court to agree that adoption is in the child's best interest. The more time that passes, the less likely the court will be to consider mom's petition - because the court wants to maintain stability and continuity for the child. Even if mom ever gets her life back on track, by the time that happens, it may already be too late.


    My question is: What would the process or likihood be of the Mother regaining custody?
    If the court took away mom's parential guardianship, mom would have to petition the court for visitation or custody. Not having a job won't hurt her. Not having an education won't hurt her. The welfare fraud won't please the court, but the reality is that multiple-time convicted violent offenders can get custody of their children, so long as their crimes weren't directly related to child abuse, neglect, etc. Bi-polar disorder won't factor unless there's a physician that states that the BF is SO bad that he poses a real and immediate threat to the child. Plenty of people with bi-polar successfully raise children. The sex offender issue could be a MAJOR factor, but it'll really come down to the nature of the crime (the courts understand that there's a big difference between sleeping with a 17 year old who looks older, versus luring a 5 year old into the woods types of crimes). The BIGGEST factor that would work against mom is time. Regardless of all of these other points, mom hasn't bothered to even attempt to maintain a relationship with the child for a multi year time span. Unless she was incarcerated or in a coma, that's going to tell the court a LOT about her fitness or enthusiasm for parenting this child, and the court can be expected to take mom's history of absence as a predictor of future absense.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Can a Biological Mother Regain Custody

    Catherine: Thanks so much for the reply. In response to your questions/comments.


    Have they been ORDERED by a court to pay child support?
    They have not been ordered by the court to pay child as I have never pursued it. To be quite honest, my cousin is the type of person to be very spiteful and would try to get the child back and then never let me or my family see him again. I didn't want to cause a stir by petitioning for child support.

    Whether or not that is relevent depends on the legal status that brought the child into your care. If mom just turned the child over to you, then mom doesn't need court ordered visitation, she can just show up and take her child. If the court made you the child's legal guardian, and didn't set out any visitation for mom, then that works against mom and benefits your quest for adoption.
    After she abandoned her child, I did not go for custody as I thought she would return to him. About 2-3 months after she left him, CPS was called and then temporary custody was granted; over a year passed and then I went to court for legal custody which was granted. She calls every few months to say "hi" but says she cannot afford to come see the child. So again as of now, I have legal custody but not guardianship as the courts informed me that they only grant guardianship if the child was put into state custody first.
    If the court took away mom's parential guardianship, mom would have to petition the court for visitation or custody. Not having a job won't hurt her. Not having an education won't hurt her. The welfare fraud won't please the court, but the reality is that multiple-time convicted violent offenders can get custody of their children, so long as their crimes weren't directly related to child abuse, neglect, etc. Bi-polar disorder won't factor unless there's a physician that states that the BF is SO bad that he poses a real and immediate threat to the child. Plenty of people with bi-polar successfully raise children. The sex offender issue could be a MAJOR factor, but it'll really come down to the nature of the crime (the courts understand that there's a big difference between sleeping with a 17 year old who looks older, versus luring a 5 year old into the woods types of crimes). The BIGGEST factor that would work against mom is time. Regardless of all of these other points, mom hasn't bothered to even attempt to maintain a relationship with the child for a multi year time span. Unless she was incarcerated or in a coma, that's going to tell the court a LOT about her fitness or enthusiasm for parenting this child, and the court can be expected to take mom's history of absence as a predictor of future absense.
    The mother is bi-polar as well and has a history of trying to commit suicide. The BF is in and out of facilities due to his bi-polar disease. He is also not even allowed around his own child alone due to his sex offender conviction. To be quite honest, I do not know all of the details involved in his conviction and I really am just going on a lot of what the Mother has stated.

    Again, although the mother has made some attempts by phone to say "hi" (not directly to the child) she doesn't physically see him because she says she can't afford it. She also did not show up to the temporary custody hearing or the legal custody hearing.

    The main reason the mother has decided not to give up her rights to the child with adoption is because she thinks the child will hate her for doing so.

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