Q: I have custody of my kid for 6 years, now her mom wants to take her to SC to visit. What are my rights if she keeps her.
We got court custody of our granddaughter when she was 2 years old, she is now 9. Her birth mother has not had much to do with her, but now married and moved to SC, she would like to visit our daughter by taking her up there to SC. Our daughter has not lived anywhere but with us since she was only a few months old. I just do not want to give the birth mother permission to take the child out of state if she could keep her. She is just getting to know her. My daughter is scared to go unless we promise we are picking her up on the day we say we are. I don't want to be foolish. The birth mother has no visiting right, she has never asked for any, but I do want my daughter to have every advantage she can to get to know her birth mom.
A: A lot will depend on the actual language of your custody order. I suggest you meet with an experienced local family law attorney to review the order. The attorney can also help you come up with a written agreement between you and the birth mother outlining the details of the visitation. You don't say whether you adopted the child or just have some type of extended relative family custody, guardianship or otherwise. Your strongest position would be if there had been an adoption. Most other forms of guardianship or custody are modifiable by the court under special circumstances. If it were me, I would meet with a lawyer. You've invested a lot of your time, heart, and soul with this child I can tell by your letter you are concerned that she will not be returned. Therefore you want to do all that you can to insure there are no "surprises".
Wishing you all the best. David A. Carroll, Pensacola Child Custody Lawyer
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