– from Jodi G. in Menomonee Falls, WI

Question Details:

I am 19 and I have a 4 year old son. I had him when I was a minor, and we both lived with my grandmother after he was born. We lived with her until I turned 18. After that, we moved in with my boyfriend for a few months. That didn't work out, so we moved in with a friend. Since then, me and my son have been staying with different friends of mine until I get can get us a place, and find a good job to support us. My grandmother has been helping us out with cash, but now she says I should just bring my son to live with her until I get on my feet. She thinks its my fault that we are in this position, and that I should just hand over my son. Now, she is taking me to court for custody. Can she really take my son from me?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is a very serious situation. There are also things to consider other than just the legalities. I do not know all of the details, but going from your statement alone, have you considered any alternatives to your situation?

It's tough being a single mother, and I understand how much you love your son, but it also must be tough on him as well not having a house to call a home. Have you considered maybe speaking to your grandmother and trying to come to an amicable agreement that focuses solely on the best situation for your son? Going to court against family members under these circumstances is something courts do not take lightly.

In the case of Barstad v. Frazier, 112 Wis. 2d 343, 332 N.W.2d 835 (Ct. App. 1983) (Reversed by 118 Wis. 2d 549, 348 N.W.2d 479 (1984), there was a single mother in a similar situation as you. Her grandmother also took her to court for custody of the child in question. This was later reversed, but initially the grandmother was awarded custody.

My advice in this situation would be to consult a family law attorney right away. They may also be able to point you in the right direction as far as employment services and other services that may be able to assist you.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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