West Springfield, MA asked in Adoption, Child Custody and Family Law for North Carolina

Q: 10 year old is scared of her non- custodial mother during supervised visits with maternal grandmother.

NC court order awarding full custody to paternal grandparents and visitation to maternal grandmother who must be supervising the child when her mother is present. This court order went into judgment when the child was 2. She is going to be 10 and is deathly scared of her mother’s anger. The maternal grandmother isn’t supervising properly based on reports from the child. Her mother humiliated her, manipulates everyone. DCF removed the child and placed with the paternal grandparents. The mother still cannot hold a job and cannot support herself. The paternal grandparents are besides themselves and worries about taking it back to court that somehow they will lose. The child has been going to counseling and states she wants the paternal grandparents to adopt her. The girl goes over there kicking and screaming at this point. There have been incidents of assault at that home and disturbances. What can they do until it gets into court? This child is being forced against her will.

1 Lawyer Answer
Amanda Bowden Johnson
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: I have been doing this a long time and have heard this type of story more times than I care to remember and right off the bat, your story doesn't sound right. Here's why: If things are in fact as bad as you say they are, why in the world would you be even the slightest bit concerned about losing custody? Also, if things were as bad as you say, a normal reasonable person would have stepped in and done whatever was necessary to stop it - immediately - the fact that it appears you have not done that is a fair indicator of one of two things: 1) things are in fact not quite as bad as you say they are OR 2) if they are as bad as you say, then your suitability to have custody may be suspect. As to what a 10 year old child wants, that is irrelevant - a child by definition is incapable of making that type of decision. So if you want to keep the child away from her mother and grandmother, you are likely going to need an attorney and you are going to need to convince a Judge that it is in the child's best interest to do that. You had also likely better have quite a bit more evidence than "reports from the child." and a very good, reasonable answer to the question of 'if it is as bad as you say, why haven't you done anything sooner?' Otherwise, sometimes a child needs to forced against their will, kicking and screaming.

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