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#1 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not a single mother, but I know that the ladies on this forum are generally a good resource, so I thought I would try asking here for some advice for a relative.  I'll call her Mary.

 

Mary is 16 and has a 6 mo DD.  She lives with her parents.  She is adjusting well to motherhood, is still BFing, and has a lot of family support.  She is starting her junior year of high school this fall and plans to use our state's PSEO program to start college.  Academically, she is a very bright girl.

 

Mary and the baby's father are still involved (boyfriend-girlfriend).  She brings the baby over to the BF's house (well, parents'  house as he is also 16) on weekends.  The BF also visits her house.  Mary's parents do not allow the pair to be home alone together/spend the night at each other's houses.

 

Mary's parents are barely scraping by, as her father lost his job last year, but they chose to forgo formal CS from the BF because he is also in high school and works a part-time job at a fast food restaurant to help contribute.  Their stance on the matter is that the most important thing right now is to get Mary and her BF through high school and they didn't want to heap any additional pressure on the BF.

 

Despite the money issues, they have a nice little house and they baby is in a very stable, loving environment.  Mary's mother will care for the baby while Mary has class.

 

The BF's parents have decided to pursue joint custody with what sounds like a ridiculous schedule for an infant (15 days on, 15 days off bigeyes.gif).  The GAL said they BFing was not something that would factor into the decision-making.  The father of the baby is actually happy with the current arrangement - it is just his parents who are not.

 

So at this point, Mary is terrified of losing her baby for 15 days at a time.  Her parents have no idea how they are going to pay for a lawyer, home studies, etc.  Mary's parents are afraid that the two kids will take the baby and run off together to avoid the custody arrangement.

 

Any advice, resources?  Things were going so well in a situation that was definitely not ideal - it seems so terrible that the BF's parents want to mess it all up.


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#2 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 04:49 PM
 
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I've never heard of such a schedual.  The usual joint is 3 1/2 or 3 days 4 days next week 4 days 3 days.

Also I don't see the boy himself filing...so why take a baby away from a mother to give to not his father but his parents.

It's odd, unless they are actually going for full custody...it might just be talk.

 

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#3 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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Never heard of such a thing.  Sounds like a lot of 'talk' and unless the baby's mother is deemed unfit or some such thing there would be no reason to involve the grandparents as custodians.

I would start with the school guidance office and see if they can give direction toward legal aid.  Also if 'Mary' is receiving WIC or state assistance those offices would be a place to look for legal direction options as well.

Possibly search 'teen legal clinic' or 'legal clinic' etc.

 

The part about 'Mary's' parents not allowing them to spend time alone is a bit odd.  I think that horse has already left the barn, ya know?  


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#4 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 05:41 PM
 
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If the BF tells the GAL that he doesn't want half time, and likes the schedule the way it is, the GAL will tell the court to drop the case.  It has to be the BF who wants the case to go forward - his parents don't have any rights whatsoever.

 

Has anything been filed in court?  If not, there is no reason for the mom to do anything.  If so, then the mother should go to the court and see what the process is for getting a court appointed atty.  Then, she needs to make sure that atty makes the judge aware that it is the BF's parents that are causing all the disruption - that the baby's father is happy with the arrangement the way it is.  It will come out - particularly if BF doesn't show to court but his parents do.  They don't have the right to fight for custody of the child, only the baby's father does.

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#5 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

 

The part about 'Mary's' parents not allowing them to spend time alone is a bit odd.  I think that horse has already left the barn, ya know?  


I thought this as well, but they are a pretty conservative family.  The kids only recently have been allowed to have people over when the parents are gone (but not members of the opposite sex).  They pregnancy occurred during a one-time visit to the BF's house where Mary's parents thought that BF's parents would be home the whole time.  Apparently, the BF's parents left to pick up some take-out and we all know the end of the story.  Mary has a cousin around the same age that had two teen pregnancies, and her parents really want to make sure that it does not happen again.

 

Honestly, if it were my DD, I would probably consider asking the BF to move in (separate bedrooms) so the child could be parented by both parents and they could share the workload.  But I am a little more liberal about things like that.
 

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If the BF tells the GAL that he doesn't want half time, and likes the schedule the way it is, the GAL will tell the court to drop the case.  It has to be the BF who wants the case to go forward - his parents don't have any rights whatsoever.

 

Has anything been filed in court?  If not, there is no reason for the mom to do anything.  If so, then the mother should go to the court and see what the process is for getting a court appointed atty.  Then, she needs to make sure that atty makes the judge aware that it is the BF's parents that are causing all the disruption - that the baby's father is happy with the arrangement the way it is.  It will come out - particularly if BF doesn't show to court but his parents do.  They don't have the right to fight for custody of the child, only the baby's father does.


Things have been filed in court.  There was a CS hearing.  There was a visit with a mediator.  Now the BF's parents filed for joint custody and I believe they have a court date.  My understanding is that because both of the baby's parents are minors and cannot legally sign contracts, etc. everything has to be done by the parents until they are 18.  Maybe it varies by state?

 

Can you get a court-appointed attorney in a non-criminal case?

 

I hope the BF is honest with the GAL.  I wonder if his parents will try to force him to say that he wants the joint custody.

 

I know that the courts around here tend to like the status quo as long as the status quo is working and both parents have some parenting time.  I wonder if there would be a way for the lawyer to drag things out a little so that the situation becomes even more the norm.

 

I just have such trouble seeing a court order that kind of schedule for a child so young!  My stepdaughter lives with us week on/week off, and I know that can get to be a long stretch without seeing the other parent, and she is almost 9.  For a baby, 15 days would be an eternity.


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#6 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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Things have been filed in court.  There was a CS hearing.  There was a visit with a mediator.  Now the BF's parents filed for joint custody and I believe they have a court date.  My understanding is that because both of the baby's parents are minors and cannot legally sign contracts, etc. everything has to be done by the parents until they are 18.  Maybe it varies by state?  You know, it could depend on the state, but I thought that once a child HAS a child, they were legally emancipated?  Even if thats not the case, the child should be raised by his/her parents, not the grandparents.

 

Can you get a court-appointed attorney in a non-criminal case?  Yes, in most states, parents can get an attorney for a child custody case.

 

I hope the BF is honest with the GAL.  I wonder if his parents will try to force him to say that he wants the joint custody.

 

I know that the courts around here tend to like the status quo as long as the status quo is working and both parents have some parenting time.  I wonder if there would be a way for the lawyer to drag things out a little so that the situation becomes even more the norm.  If this is the case, this is what the mother needs to say in court - That the current situation is working very nicely, the baby and his/her father are forming a strong bond (if the baby gets visibly excited to see the father thats a good thing to mention - but I don't know how old the baby is)

 

I just have such trouble seeing a court order that kind of schedule for a child so young!  My stepdaughter lives with us week on/week off, and I know that can get to be a long stretch without seeing the other parent, and she is almost 9.  For a baby, 15 days would be an eternity.


Also, what state is the mother living in?  There are still some states that default to the mother having custody - and regardless what the GAL says, BF'ing should come into play with an infant - particularly if they are very young (less than 6mo).  I wonder if the GAL has a bias against teenage parents?  If so, that should be brought out, so that the judge can find someone who is more suited to the case.

 

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#7 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, what state is the mother living in?  There are still some states that default to the mother having custody - and regardless what the GAL says, BF'ing should come into play with an infant - particularly if they are very young (less than 6mo).  I wonder if the GAL has a bias against teenage parents?  If so, that should be brought out, so that the judge can find someone who is more suited to the case.

 

 

The state is MN.  The county is one of the counties on the outskirts of the major metropolitan area in the state, so the court system there doesn't seem quite as clogged up with cases.  Things seem to be moving along pretty quickly. 

 

From DH's experience writing a parenting agreement with my stepdaughter's mom, I know that in MN custody defaults to the mom if the parents are unmarried.  I also know that the court used to pretty much leave it like that unless there was a good reason, but now are giving fathers a lot more parenting time and for older children I have heard 50/50 will probably be presumed in the future.

 

The baby is 6 months old.

 

 


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#8 of 8 Old 08-14-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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The state is MN.  The county is one of the counties on the outskirts of the major metropolitan area in the state, so the court system there doesn't seem quite as clogged up with cases.  Things seem to be moving along pretty quickly.   This is good b/c dragged out cases are hell for everyone.

 

From DH's experience writing a parenting agreement with my stepdaughter's mom, I know that in MN custody defaults to the mom if the parents are unmarried.  I also know that the court used to pretty much leave it like that unless there was a good reason, but now are giving fathers a lot more parenting time and for older children I have heard 50/50 will probably be presumed in the future.  Well, worry about now, and it seems that if the default is mom, then thats what will happen as long as she doesn't get pressured into agreeing to something else.  Which means she needs to be strong - and I know she can be, b/c I know what the threat of losing your child (or part custody) can do to a mother.  Since the baby has lived with her, if she pushes to a trial, and her home is safe and loving, and the child is doing well (which you said is the case - so no worries there), she should win.  It doesn't look good when grandparents, or dad's, push for something that is unreasonable.  The schedule that BF's parents are asking for is CRAZY - and I don't know anywhere that would award it - not in my state anyway, it would NEVER happen.  She should try to come up with a graduated visitation schedule though, that they might agree to.  So....a few afternoon's a week until the baby is 10-11mo, then one overnight a week until the baby is 14-15mo, then every other weekend standard visitation.  Now, I know she's BF'ing - but thats pretty similar to what we did when I split with my ex, and my ds nursed until he weaned himself at 2yo right after his b-day.  If she stays positive about BF's role as a father (they're still dating, so no reason she won't), and gives him access to the baby and allows a good relationship to develop - she should have no problems.  I am sympathetic though, my ex's parents are the root of all my problems with my ex.  It's really hard to have unreasonable IL's - whether they're ex's or current!

 

The baby is 6 months old.

 

 



 

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