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Mother facing tough times gave her child to her sister-in-law 2 years ago; now having difficulty seeing her son

Your Question:
I got seperated from my husband about 3 years ago. I got in a bad relationship and thought it would be best to sign a power of attorney papers to my sister n law and take the one child I have custody of to her house to live. I have since got my act together and have tried on numerous occasions to get my son back, but she sticks her husband in the middle of it. He tells me that since I have basically had nothing to do with my child that the state has awarded them custody. I thought in order for that to happen they had to notify me before such a thing could happen. I tried to get in touch with DCS and find out what is going on they wont tell me anything. My son when I am allowed to talk to him talks to me on the phone he cries and beggs me to come get him. He is only three. I miss him terribly and need to do something imediately. He hasnt been in their home for 2 years yet. What can I do? Oh, I try to call there to talk to him and they dont answer the phone or return my phone calls.

Any help you can give will be really apprietiated.

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My Answer:

I hear the pain you're in... very tough spot for you.

You didn't mention if your parental rights were terminated by the court. If so, I don't think you can do much other than try to work with your sister-in-law over time to prove to her that you're cleaned up, straight, stable, etc.

If your parental rights were not terminated by a court, you can ask the court to order custodial time for you and your child. Because you don't mention this child's father, I'm going to assume that the father is not involved in his life.

Given that you essentially abandoned your son (albeit in a seeming responsible way to a relative), you're going to have a hard time just waltzing into a court and saying, "Okay, I'm ready to have my son back, Judge, so please make that happen!"

Instead, you're going to have to lay out your case that you've been clean and sober for X length of time (if alcohol or drugs have been a problem), that you've been through counseling, that you've been through rehab (if alcohol or drugs have been a problem), that you've been employed at the same job for 6+ months, that you've lived in the same place for 6+ months, that the a-hole you were dating has been out of the picture for years, and that you even took a parenting course (i.e., you should definitely do this).

If you present all of that to the court, I can't imagine the judge won't give you very frequent contact with the kid, perhaps with the unspoken goal of transitioning the boy back to you if you continue to impress the court with how stable and healthy you are over time.

If you can't show that you've been clean and stable for at least 6 months, then you've got that goal ahead of you. You want your case in court to be as strong as I described. If you need to wait a little bit of time to make that happen, then plan on going to court in several months rather than starting it now.

I'm telling you... if you can make a case as I outlined... and if your parental rights haven't been terminated... I'd give 90% chance that a judge will give you significant time with your boy. Further, you can ask and probably secure orders for everything that has been a a problem (e.g., you are allowed to call your son once daily, and sister-in-law shall not restrict it).

To do it right, you probably need an attorney, and you may want to ask around for some that can help in your situation. Asking women's shelters would be a good place, for example.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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