The grandparents of a three-year-old girl are currently on trial on charges of illegally fleeing with the child. The girl’s mother is a long-distance truck driver. As a result, she had previously relinquished her child custody rights in favor of her parents. The little girl rarely had any contact with her father. Apparently, this was because the grandparents decided that it was not in her best interest if she were to visit him. As a result, the mother says that she had to sneak visits in order for the father to see his little girl.
In an effort to regain custody of her daughter, and to allow for visitation rights of the father, they filed a child custody lawsuit. During that proceeding, a family court judge did three things. He:
- Granted the mother fully custody of her daughter
- Removed the grandparents’ rights as guardians of their granddaughter
- Said that the father of the girl should be allowed visitation rights
The grandparents were told that they could appeal the decision if they disagreed with the family court’s ruling. The next day, the grandparents fled with the child to Arizona, after clearing out their bank accounts.
When child custody disputes arise, family courts try to determine what is in the best interests of the children involved . Unfortunately, in this case it appears that the grandparents decided to determine what was in the best interest of their grandchild despite the family court’s ruling. While the grandparents certainly appear to love and care for their granddaughter, the appropriate way to deal with their disappointment would not be to flee with her, but instead to appeal the court decision and argue their case for their rights as grandparents before a judge.
Source: The Charleston Gazette, “Trial begins for grandparents accused of fleeing with granddaughter,” Kate White, 6 June 2011