“About a year ago I voluntarily signed a paper giving my mother temporary custody of my 6-year-old daughter. I did this so she could take her to the doctors, enroll her in school, and so I could get on my feet. I didn’t have stable housing at the time. My daughter was staying with my mom and she told me that she needed me to sign this paper so she could do those things. That was the biggest mistake I ever made. Since then, she has kept me and my boyfriend (my daughter’s father) and also my boyfriend’s entire family from seeing her. In the beginning she would let us pick her up and take her places for a few hours, but never sleep over or anything. As time went on, she started letting us see her less and less. Now, she won’t let me or my boyfriend see our daughter at all. No contact whatsoever. No visits, supervised or not. No phone calls. Nothing. My boyfriend and I are heartbroken. I miss my daughter more than words can say and I know she misses me. The last time I saw her was for 5 minutes when my mom stopped into my work (I work at a retail, dollar type store) for 5 minutes for a few things and brought my daughter along. I got to give her one hug and tell her I loved her. Her father hasn’t seen her in months. This has ruined our lives. I signed the paper at a bank in front of a notary. It was never filed with the courts. There is no judge’s or court clerk’s signature on it. What I want to know is: can she legally do this? I want to go to my daughter’s school and pick her up (I believe I am still on the list of people who can pick her up) and at the same time, drop off a letter revoking all rights I gave to her previously in that letter. My mother gave a copy of the letter I signed to my daughter’s school. I have looked at a lot of websites and what I have found is that if the paper was never signed off on by a judge or filed with the courts, then it was never legal. Is this true? Can I just go pick up my daughter? I trusted my mother and never thought she would do something like this to me. This has ruined my relationship with her and my entire family. Please help. Thank you so much.”
Without knowing more, and depending on the laws in your state, it may be that you *could* go pick her up, but a *much* safer course of action would be to find a way – whatever you have to do – to get to a lawyer, and have the lawyer file a motion with the Court for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) that both gives you custody, and requires your mother to stay away from your daughter. Many areas also have family law ‘clinics’ through the local bar association, or the county, through which someone may do this for you for free or little cost.