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Soon-to-be grandmother concerned about her rights and her son's rights regarding his unborn child

Your Question:
My son, expecting 1st child (out of work currently) and myself (1st time grandmother) are about to have an addition to our family, we have learned my son's girlfriend is going to move to another county with the baby just after birth what legal rights do we have him as parent and myself as grandmother? With no chance of ever bonding with the child, what can we do?

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My Answer:

I suggest you rearrange your perspective on "rights" and how to proceed.

You're concerned with your rights as a grandparent, and your son's rights as a father.

The court is concerned with the welfare of the child.

Unless the mother is a drug addict, violent person with multiple criminal convictions, and/or a prostitute, your son likely has little chance to convince a judge that the newborn should not move with the mother.

The judge has no authority to tell adults where they can/can't live. The judge only has authority to make orders regarding where the child will live.

If the unwed mother of a newborn is moving, I imagine that nearly every judge will find it in the infant's best interest to move with the mother (i.e., absent evidence that she is grossly unfit).

So, I think your son should make plans to move to the city where the mother wants to live and seek court orders to be a very involved parent. If he intends to be a good father, and if he's a stable man, that will really be in this child's best interest-- to have two actively involved parents.

Ideally, he and the mother can work this out via mediation and avoid litigation altogether. Perhaps if he agrees that all three of them (i.e., mommy, daddy, baby) will move to her desired city, she'll agree to joint custody and his active involvement.

If he doesn't want to move, it's not likely that he'll be frequently involved in helping to raise the child. If he'd make a good father, that is not in the child's best interest.

As a grandmother, you're dealing with the consequence of some irresponsibility your son has shown by getting a woman pregnant outside of wedlock. If your son is willing to own up to that and now take on the hard responsibility of doing what it takes to be an involved father to this child, you should be proud of him. The next couple decades won't be easy, in terms of helping this child be a part of two families.

So, I see that the best thing you can do is to support your son in his quest to be an involved daddy from day one, whatever that takes (i.e., perhaps helping him hire an experienced family law attorney who is prepared to file a paternity action as soon as the child is born - if the mother is uncooperative).

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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