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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    2

    Default Establishing Guardianship of a Grandchild

    My question involves guardianship in the State of: Pennsylvania.

    Hello! I, as I am sure you can already tell, have just joined this forum for advice on how to deal with my unborn grandchild. My wife and I currently live in California, but will be moving to Portland, Or. soon as she just received a promotion with her job. So, let me start WAYYYY back at the beginning.

    We moved to Portland, Or. towards the end of 2010 from Atlanta, Ga. At the time, it was my wife, my daughter, my 16 year old step-son and I. He was finishing up his home-schooling because he could not handle "public schools". Now, when I say that he could not handle them, I mean he was suspended numerous times and finally expelled for reasons ranging from fights, to threatening to kill people, to threatening to blow up the school. He never had the means to do anything, but I agreed with the punishment as the school system should not have to worry about things like that. We, of course, got him psychiatric care and he would literally "play the game" at the sessions, but go home and do the same stuff over again. So, my wife and I thought that moving him away from Ga would help. He had no friends there, as it was, so it wasn't like he was "tied" to anyone.

    Moving along, since everything seemed normal other than him saying he was going to kill himself a few times, he advised us that this "new girl" he was dating from Ga., was about to be homeless. We, stupidly, let them convince us that her family would have nothing to do with her, so we allowed her to move in with us over her being homeless. We also figured that if we didn't, our son would do something stupid to be with her. So...for about a year, we gave his girlfriend a place to live, food, transportation, whatever they needed. Always pushing them to get a job. But, then I was promoted at work, but needed to move to California. So, we packed them up, because we could not afford to pay to leases, and they were lazy and we could not bring it upon ourselves to make them homeless. I know, I know, I should have seen something like this coming and we kind of "asked" for it.

    Well, after about 6 months in California, we started pushing harder and harder for them to get jobs or get in school, or move out. So, she would work random babysitting jobs, but nothing stable. Finally, one day I went in to their room while they were out, to drop off laundry, and found the room they were in totally trashed. So, while they were gone, my wife and I simply cleaned it! We threw out empty beer bottles, marijuana, whiskey, used condoms, and BOOM, used pregnancy tests. When they came back, they FREAKED OUT and decided they had enough and were moving out. We said ok and let them go. They told us nothing other than they were going back to Ga.

    A few weeks go by that they are in Ga. and we get a call saying that my son has been arrested for making terroristic threats! SHOCKER! So, his grandparents, who still live in Ga., bailed him out and he moved in with them. He would not hear of not living with his girlfriend, so he fought and fought and fought until the grandparents came up with another solution. They could both stay at my step-son's Uncle's House. So they both moved in there.

    Now, less than a month ago, we find out the REAL reason they moved from California. They were afraid to tell us they were going to have a baby. So for four months, they have hid this secret from everybody, and lived in the basement of a nasty, dirty house that should not have kids in it anyway, living off Ramen Noodles and Mt. Dew. No Dr. appointments, pre-natal vitamins NOTHING. Once we find out, we make some calls and notify the family that they need to get her to the Dr. and get them on WIC and Medicare because neither have a job nor were they looking.

    Now, we convinced my son to move back in with us so that we can make sure they are taken care of because the Uncle told them that they could no longer stay there and would need to find a place to live. All was set, as soon as his court date was over, and the judge approved, they would be on a plane back to California. But then, suddenly, out of the blue, her father decides to step in. He has offered to rent a place to live for them in Pennsylvania. Now mind you, he is a homeless truck driver and couldn't help support her when she was homeless before. I have not seen the apartment, as they will not move in until 9/11/2013, after my son's court date. That is if the judge agrees to allow him to leave the state on probation. So here we are.

    Long story and I do apologize, but I wanted to give as much information and background as possible. In short, the parents, and I fully understand that it is their right, have decided to go live in an efficiency apartment with no jobs, no money, and absolutely no support, other than a drug-addicted (by his admission) brother of her's and a truck driving, otherwise homeless father that never helped when his daughter was homeless before. Her mother, while supposedly a born-again Christian, is involved with a member of an MC, I have nothing against them, except this is a 1% MC. So they are not helping... and than there is us. While we are not perfect, my wife and I both have steady jobs making over six-figures. Great health benefits, and because of her job, we would also get quality child-care!

    As of this conversation, neither my son nor his girlfriend have any prospects for a job and are going there on a wing and a prayer. They will have to re-qualify for WIC and Medicare, I believe. So they will be living off of State assistance. Which I believe is there for people that REALLY need it. These two do not! I have lived with them long enough to know that they have both refused decent, stable jobs, because they "didn't feel like going in", and even refused our offer to help get them enrolled in College. My wife and I are seriously concerned for the welfare of this child when it is born as the two literally bounce from place to place until they wear out the welcome, yet refuse to come here where they know they can stay. The only thing I can think of is because we will make them clean up after themselves and get jobs or go to school to better themselves, where in Pennsylvania, they will not have to because they will have no one there to push them.

    I wanted to get advice from this forum before deciding, but ultimately, we want to fight for Custody of this child. Any thoughts or advice would be extremely beneficial!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Guardianship of Grandbaby

    You would have to prove BOTH parents legally unfit - and being on Welfare does not make them unfit. Money doesn't count (thankfully) - the courts don't award a third party custody based upon the financial state of the parents.

    Honestly? It would probably best if you backed off. You're WAY too involved in the lives of these two people. The only likely outcome I can see is the parents never allowing you to see the child.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Guardianship of Grandbaby

    Thank you for your advice and feedback. I have issues with it, but that is because I can't stand to see a child start out with NO future. Neither of these people have worked a day in their lives, but you are correct sir! I should back off and let the state provide for them... Really difficult to do and sometimes the law just SUCKS... but I seriously do appreciate your feedback. It helps to get an outside opinion to sometimes calm us down and back us off the edge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Guardianship of Grandbaby

    Quote Quoting bdills
    View Post
    Thank you for your advice and feedback. I have issues with it, but that is because I can't stand to see a child start out with NO future. Neither of these people have worked a day in their lives, but you are correct sir! I should back off and let the state provide for them... Really difficult to do and sometimes the law just SUCKS... but I seriously do appreciate your feedback. It helps to get an outside opinion to sometimes calm us down and back us off the edge.

    Some people unfortunately have no desire to actually do something with their lives.

    Now, if the child - once s/he is born - is abused or neglected, that's the point when you can act
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,988

    Default Re: Guardianship of Grandbaby

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
    View Post
    Some people unfortunately have no desire to actually do something with their lives.

    Now, if the child - once s/he is born - is abused or neglected, that's the point when you can act
    I agree, but I will also add that it has to be abuse or neglect from a legal standpoint, not your personal opinion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Guardianship of Grandbaby

    In 2001, Pa Senate Bill 753 sought to add a definition to child abuse that would've outright made it a crime for mom to do drugs during pregnancy. It apparently didn't pass. That said, PA's child protective services might be receptive to such information. Also, likely previously mentioned, without consent of the parents, you'll need termination of parental rights to basically be able to take the baby home with you.

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