My parents have my son, and they refuse to return him to me. They do not have a court order, or any type of custody/ legal guardianship of him. I have talked to the local juvenile intake officer, and she said that I need to file a petition for custody of my own son. My parents have threatened me not to come on their property- violent threats- and I cannot go and get my son. My husband is in the Military, and we went overseas to Hawaii for 6 months. Because my husband is not the biological father, he was unable to get my son command sponsored in order for him to come w/ us. My parents were taking care of my son until we either returned or got command sponsorship. When we returned , my parents refused to give him back to me- saying that I gave him up. What are my rights?
5 Answers from Attorneys
Custody of Child
The facts of your case raise some question in my mind about the welfare of your child. However, your parents have no legal right to the child. It would be my suggestion that you go to the police and request them to assist you in obtaining the child. I suspect that they may not want to get involved. In that case you will have to file a petition with the court to obtain custody. In that case the court will consider the welfare of the child and the facts of the case. I am not an attorney in your jurisdiction and suggest you obtain local counsel to assist you. I believe you will not have a problem getting the child back if you can provide a good enviroment.
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Custody of a child
Before you hire an attorney (which would be my next recommendation) you might try going to the police or sheriff's dept., explaining that your parents will not give your son back (don't bother with all the details - keep your story short and to the point), explain that you have legal custody rights, and see if an officer will go with you to get your son. They can't arrest him for trespassing. If that doesn't work, go to Department of Social Services and see if they can help you. If that doesn't work, you're going to have to get an attorney.
Custody of Child
You need to file a petition for custody for the child if the child is in Virginia. Call the Juvenile Court in the jurisdiction where the child is located, if in Virginia. Because this sounds like a contested matter, I urge you to obtain experienced legal representation to make sure you gain or regain custody. We handle these matters in central Virginia, and I recommend that you call my experienced partner, Virginia Perry at 804 520-7060 or 800 866-3075 (in Virginia). Good luck,and God bless you in this stressful time.
Presumption in Favor of Natural Parent
This communication is not intended to be the provision of legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. In this office, the attorney-client relationship is established by the execution of a written fee-agreement after a more detailed discussion of the facts leads me to conclude that I am willing to undertake representation in such a case.Having said that, in Virginia, the key consideration for child custody matters is what is in the "best interests" of the child. The law presumes that the best interests of a child will be served by placing its custody with a natural parent. There are several exceptions to this general rule, such as where the child has been abandoned or where custody has been relinquished, that is, voluntarily given to another person. If you left the child with your parents so that you could accompany your husband to Hawaii, such a relinquishment may have occurred.My suggestion is that - as silly as this may sound - you follow the recommendation of the intake officer and file a petition with the appropriate juvenile and domestic relations district court seeking custody of your child.
Custody of children without court order
All parents (married or unmarried) have custody of their children unless a court ordersotherwise. If there is no court order granting your parents custody, they arecommitting a criminal act. Go to the police and have them get your son for you.