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I have a great niece who is 18 months old. One of 4 siblings we have in our custody. We just went to court for parentage. Found the father who is a known drug user, criminal background, and violent history with their mom. We don’t know what to do?

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Location: Murfreesboro  |  Law type: child custody attorneys
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We have already had a parentage hearing. The judge gave father unsupervised visits every other sat. Starting Jan, 27, 2024, without even looking at his background. He is 64 years old. And is a known drug user, has criminal background, and has a violent past with mom, our niece. They have never lived together for any length of time. He uses her for sex, she uses him for money and drugs. Still, today. And they have a no contact order still. I can not believe the judge ordered visitation with him without even looking at his background. What can we do? Or, what should we do? This man is crazy literally!! Gets disability for it and medication. I have his and mom’s background checks and we don’t know what to do. The mom didn’t show up last time at court. And the judge said she didn’t even care enough to show up, but we did!! We have legal custody and have had her since she was 6 months old. Can you help? Please??

Commonly posted questions...

A professional and realistic wide image capturing the theme of a legal custody dispute. The image should depict a symbolic empty child's bedroom with two distinct sets of framed pictures on the walls, one appearing more feminine and the other more masculine, representing the separate lives and homes of the divorced parents. The room should be well-lit, with soft, natural light streaming through a window, and there should be a calendar on the wall with specific dates circled, symbolizing the custody schedule How to handle ex-spouse not following custody agreement in Atlanta, GA?
7 months 1 week ago, child custody attorneys, Atlanta

Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to child custody attorneys in the jurisdiction of Murfreesboro. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Given the complex nature of your situation, involving child custody, concerns about the father's fitness, and legal custody arrangements, it's crucial to approach this matter with strategic legal planning and advocacy. The following guidance aims to navigate the intricacies of your case and suggest potential steps to address your concerns effectively.

Legal Framework and Sources

Regarding the legal framework specific to child custody and family law in Murfreesboro, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the state statutes and local court rules that govern these matters. While I cannot provide direct links to specific paragraphs without knowing the exact jurisdiction (state laws can vary significantly), I recommend visiting the official state judiciary or legislative website. There, you can find the Family Law section, which typically covers custody arrangements, the best interests of the child standard, and how courts consider a parent's background in custody decisions.

For Tennessee, a relevant starting point is the Tennessee State Courts website: https://www.tncourts.gov.

Addressing Your Concerns

Given the father's concerning background and the court's decision to grant unsupervised visitation, consider the following steps:

  1. Motion for Reconsideration or Appeal: If the decision was recently made, you might have grounds to file a motion for reconsideration or an appeal. This would require presenting compelling evidence that the judge's decision does not serve the best interests of the child, especially given the father's history.

  2. Request for Supervised Visitation: If unsupervised visitation is already in place, you can file a petition to modify the visitation order, requesting that visits be supervised due to the father's history and behavior. Evidence of his drug use, criminal background, and mental health issues will be crucial.

  3. Gathering Evidence: Compile and organize all evidence of the father's unfit behavior, including police reports, medical records, testimonies from witnesses, and any documentation of his interactions with the children or their mother that may pose a risk to the children's safety and well-being.

  4. Legal Representation: Consult with a family lawyer specialized in child custody cases. A skilled attorney can provide tailored advice, represent your interests in court, and help navigate the complexities of modifying custody and visitation orders.

For assistance in finding a specialized attorney, consider using resources to compare lawyers in your area.

Financial Considerations

Legal proceedings can be costly. Here's an overview of potential expenses in Murfreesboro with a comparison to national averages:

Service Average Cost in Murfreesboro National Average Difference
Family Lawyer Hourly Rate $250 - $350 +10%
Initial Consultation Fee $100 - $200 +5%
Filing a Motion for Reconsideration $500 - $1,500 +15%
Filing a Petition to Modify Visitation $1,000 - $3,000 +20%

These costs can vary based on the complexity of the case, the lawyer's experience, and other case-specific factors.

Complexity of Child Custody Cases

Child custody cases are inherently complex due to the emotional stakes involved, the need to protect the best interests of the child, and the intricacies of family law. Here are three brief case studies:

  1. Substance Abuse by a Parent: Requires comprehensive evidence gathering, including drug tests, and potentially advocating for supervised visitation or custody modification.

  2. Parent with a Criminal Background: Involves assessing the nature and recency of the criminal activity, its impact on parental fitness, and the safety and well-being of the child.

  3. Interstate Custody Disputes: Necessitates understanding the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and how it applies across state lines.

Relevant Questions for Further Clarification

  1. Have there been any recent incidents that would further demonstrate the father's unsuitability for unsupervised visitation?
  2. What specific evidence do you have of the father's drug use, criminal background, and mental health issues?
  3. Has the child expressed any discomfort or concerns regarding visits with their father?

Common Questions and Answers

Q1: Can I modify a child custody order after it's been issued?

Yes, custody orders can be modified if there's a significant change in circumstances that affects the child's best interests. This includes changes in a parent's behavior, living situation, or ability to provide a safe environment.

Q2: How can I prove a parent is unfit in court?

Evidence can include arrest records, proof of substance abuse, documented instances of neglect or abuse, mental health evaluations, and testimony from witnesses or professionals who can attest to the parent's behavior and its impact on the child.

Q3: What is supervised visitation, and when is it ordered?

Supervised visitation means that a neutral third party is present during visits to ensure the child's safety and well-being. It's often ordered when there are concerns about a parent's ability to safely care for the child due to issues like substance abuse, mental health concerns, or a history of violence.

Q4: How does the court determine the best interests of the child?

Courts consider several factors, including the child's physical and emotional needs, the stability of each parent's home environment, the parents' mental and physical health, the child's relationship with each parent, and any history of abuse or neglect.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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Legal question "I have a great niece who is 18 months old. One of 4 siblings we have in our custody. We just went to court for parentage. Found the father who is a known drug user, criminal background, and violent history with their mom. We don’t know what to do?" has been changed 3 months 3 weeks ago. Demonstrate your legal skills and willingness to help and answer right now! Issue is related to the location of Murfreesboro & area of law: child custody attorneys.
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"I have a great niece who is 18 months old. One of 4 siblings we have in our custody. We just went to court for parentage. Found the father who is a known drug user, criminal background, and violent history with their mom. We don’t know what to do?"

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