Can we Gain Temporary Custody of our Grandchildren Without Notifying DCFS or the Children’s Estranged Father?

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“If our Grandchildren’s mother, who is our daughter, is using cocaine or other illegal drugs, is there any way we can get temporary custody of the 2 minor children? Their father is out of state, and is court ordered to not have any visitation. We do not want to notify Department of Children and Family Services because of the power they have in placing the children. We are prepared to get our daughter into a rehab program if she will accept it and are prepared to take temporary custody of the children. We have not yet approached our daughter about this matter as she is not aware that we know about her drug abuse. Is it child abuse if a parent or guardian is using illegal drugs in the home while the children are in the home? Should we hire an attorney to have temporary custody assigned to us, the grandparents, and do we have to notify their father? We will be approaching our daughter within the next week to confront about the drug use, and would like to know if we should have the temporary custody papers in our hands, should we be able to get them? We are not at all familiar with drug abuse nor have we ever thought we would be. We are just not sure how to go about all this. What if our daughter refuses help and refuses to let us care for our grandchildren. We would not just take them from her, we just want to help her in any way we can. Any advice you may offer is greatly appreciated. We live in Florida and so do our grandchildren and their mother.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Unfortunately without the involvement Department of Family and Services or your daughter’s cooperation you are not going to be able to do much. Your custody and visitation rights are largely derivative of your daughter’s absolute right to custody of her own children.

Her use of illegal drugs does not necessarily mean child abuse. It could mean that she is unfit to care for her children. It would take the involvement of governmental agencies for such a delineation to be made.

And yes, the father’s rights WHICH LIKELY ARE SUPERIOR TO YOURS would need to be notified of any action going on regarding his children. Contacting family services might end up getting the children placed with him.

You could offer help to your daughter. Offer to buy her rehab and watch the children while she is in such care.

You cannot just take the children from her without her consent. Even as grandparents, that is called “kidnapping.”

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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