Dear Carolyn,

I have been with my significant other since 2007, and he has a daughter that I have thought of as my own. She was 13 when we met, and her mother basically threw her out at the age of 12. She is 26 today, and I still consider myself as her mother due to when she needed advice, money, support or anything she always called on me.

Well, in 2017, she had a daughter with a guy that she was at the time living with. They never married, and at 6 months old, she and the baby moved in with us. This is not my biological grandchild, but I consider her that. The baby was with us for a year and a half with no communication from her father. He went to prison for something near her second birthday.

After release he started seeing a very young girl of maybe 18. Well, she contacted my daughter about her and him coming to see the grandchild but never made an effort. On her second birthday, they showed up at my house with a gift. I was curious and polite and invited them in for the birthday party I was having her. The girlfriend expressed to my daughter how badly she wanted a child by the father. Needless to say, this is the first time since this baby was 6 months old that he even attempted to make contact with her. I was the person buying for the baby as my daughter didn’t work and had some problems of her own. Not one time did he offer to send money, and she didn’t pursue child support.

Then she met someone and got pregnant and had been living with him, but the child still was with us more because of the fear we had of her safety. When she had the baby, she and him tested positive for drugs, and social services stepped in. I told them I would take her and the baby and was preparing for it, and they said that I couldn’t get them because of the case between her and my significant other 10 years prior. So we let her father take her for the weekend, and apparently the social worker came there for him to sign papers until the case was closed so that she wouldn’t go to foster care. He refused the paternity test, and they never married. They didn’t drug test him run a background check on him or anything that they did with us, just handed her over to him.

Then said that she could live with whoever he chooses after the case was closed. My daughter was informed that it was closed, and he and his girlfriend refused to let us talk to her see her or have any communication with her. The girlfriend was having her call her mommy. Then upon looking at Facebook, they posted naked pictures of my 2-year-old granddaughter standing in a pool in their front yard on both of their Facebook pages. They knew she wasn’t covered and still posted them. They have let her take her for a weekend and the child came out and said that they were mean to her. Can you please give me some advice?


Carolyn Answers,

Run not walk to a North Carolina board certified family lawyer. Your facts are complicated. Based upon your circumstances, you want to bring a third-party claim for custody arguing that you were the primary custodian of the child during a time; and that during that time, both biological parents were NOT exercising their constitutionally protected rights as a parent. The natural parents abdicated parenting and turned it over to you. That should give you standing, but you must show by clear and convincing evidence that the natural parents abrogated parental caretaking of the child.

I would like to see your daughter have a lawyer also, and she needs a separate lawyer who is cooperative with your lawyer. Perhaps you can help her with fees.

Do not get social services back involved, if at all possible. The fact that this is a closed social services case gives you opportunities to go forward under General Statutes 50-13 for custody. My experience with social services is that social services can be arbitrary on its assessments of where to place a child within an extended family.

Preserve the Facebook post. Add that to your complaint for child custody. I think this is absurd conduct to place a naked child on Facebook.

I recently wrote a longer article on this whole topic you might enjoy:




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