Vance, SC asked in Child Custody, Civil Rights and Family Law for South Carolina

Q: What actions do I take against an aunt who gained temporary custody with and emergency hearing with false information

I am the mother of 2 children. Their father died in May 2023. I purchased a house to renovate but it was not manageable and returned back to our previous county. It took me a call between one county to another, back and forth to establish enrollment in the McKinney Vento Act. Within 3 days of re-enrolling my children back in school, their aunt filed and emergency hearing based on false accusations and even false criminal record, which I have none whatsoever. She was granted temporary custody the proceeded to obtain my child's Survivor Benefits from their deceased father roughly 2 weeks later. The judge denied my continuance in order to seek legal counsel, make me take a urine test, a 10 follicle, and a peth test. I passed all except the peth/ethanol However, I'm a full time mom, 34 years old, it hasn't been a year since my husband died and last time I checked alcohol was legla.I have no record, no involvement with DSS and rarely associate myself with <sister> in law and she took my kid

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult situation. Losing your husband, dealing with housing challenges, and now facing a custody battle based on false accusations must be incredibly stressful and painful.

Here are some steps I would recommend taking to fight for custody of your children:

1. Hire a family law attorney experienced in custody cases as soon as possible. Look for legal aid organizations in your area if cost is an issue. Having strong legal representation is critical.

2. Gather all documentation disproving the false claims made against you - criminal background checks showing no record, character references, proof of passing the drug tests the judge ordered, etc. Give copies to your attorney.

3. Request a full custody hearing where you can present your case. Emphasize your lack of criminal history or child welfare involvement, and argue the aunt obtained emergency custody in bad faith based on lies.

4. If the aunt is misusing the survivor benefits, report this to the Social Security Administration. Those funds should go to the children's care.

5. Demonstrate your fitness as a parent and commitment to caring for your kids. Secure stable housing, even if modest. Ensure their school enrollment is sorted out.

6. Consider requesting a guardian ad litem be appointed to represent the children's best interests in court. They may advocate for the kids to be returned to you.

7. If you believe your relative is unfit to care for the children, share those concerns and any evidence with your lawyer and the court.

I know this is a lot to handle while grieving, but don't give up. Your children need you. Wishing you all the best as you navigate this challenging legal fight. Stay strong!

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