Legal Question in Family Law in New York

My daughter is 8 years old and has been living with my mom since she was very small, due to my going through mental illness and depression. I am still trying to seek help for this and have come across many obstacles, one being my mother. I let my daughter live with her so I can get help, but since it has taken so many years, my mom is telling my daughter that I don't love her and that I will never get her back, my daughter told me this during the weekend. My mom never answers the phone when I call to speak to the child, and just this weekend all of a sudden, she decided to let me come to take my child out but then rushed me to bring her back the next day. I wrote her an angry letter about how she is turning my child against me, and she let my daughter read the letter out loud. She has also taken my daughter out of state several times without my permission when the referee at family court told her that she was not allowed to take my daughter out of state without my permission. I am also nervous because my daughter mentioned something about seeing my mother's boyfriend in his underwear, it makes me uncomfortable. I am really trying to get help because my daughter needs to be with me and should've been with me a long time ago. I have been in and out of hospitals for depression, I've been homeless or sometimes living with people that I didn't want my child to be around. I have been denied food stamps because I was in school but didn't have a part time job or a child in my care, I've been denied SSI, and even when I worked, I never could keep a job for long because of my problem. I also have a warrant from child support because I owe 2,000 dollars because I have no income. What can be done to get my child back or is all hope lost? because I sure feel hopeless here. Sorry this is so long, I'm trying to be as detailed as possible.

Asked on 7/15/13, 9:32 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Philip Katz Fink & Katz, PLLC

If your mother has not been pronounced the legal custodian by a Court in the past, you have every right to knock on your mother's door and walk out with your daughter. Your mother, on the other hand, has the right to try and petition a court so that she be designated the child's custodian, however, from a strategic standpoint I think she would have a hard time in such a case because you will have put her on the defensive, which is always the harder position to be in.

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Answered on 7/20/13, 9:03 am

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