Ridgeway, VA asked in Family Law and Child Custody for New Jersey

Q: Joint Custody for grandchild. No legal issues or court orders.

Mother has full custody/father gave up his rights. There are no issues. Child has been in our care since birth. Mother was a teen at time so we helped raise child. I’ve always been primary caregiver to child who is autistic on lower end of spectrum. Mother, in best interest of child allowed me to raise because of the bond between us.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: I mean no disrespect but I'm not sure I understand the question. At the time of the birth of your grandchild, your daughter was a teenager and because your grandchild was on the spectrum, you handled a tremendous amount of the day-to-day responsibilities of raising your grandchild and you have a strong psychological bond with the child.

So.... what has changed causing you fear of your continued relationship and role in your granddaughter's life?

Has your daughter hinted at looking to change the setting and remove you from that role?

If so, there are 2 separate issues at play. The first is the grandparent visitation statute, which gives you specific rights and there was a recent unreported appellate division decision addressing the rights of a psychological parent to an equal standing with the biological parent under certain circumstances in dealing with custody of the child. If you are concerned, my suggestion is that you schedule a consultation with a family law specialist ( not simply a general law attorney who also handles family law matters) to discuss that recent case and to discuss your rights and the possibility of working out an agreement with your daughter for sharing custody and parenting time with her.

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