My 3-year-old grandson has lived with me for the majority of his life because his mother (my daughter) is homeless and his father has not been in the picture.
Now, his dad has reappeared and says he wants custody. What rights does he have as the child’s father? Do I have any rights since I have served as the child’s guardian his entire life?
While I am not licensed to practice in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can provide some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Generally speaking, parents have a constitutional right to be free of interference in the raising of their children. However, when parents abdicate that responsibility, they can be found to have waived that right.
The goal is nearly always for reunification of the children and at least one of the parents. If a parent has not taken responsibility in the past for raising his or her child, but seeks to take responsibility and makes good-faith efforts to do so, then a court may place the child with the natural parent even if a grandparent has raised the child for much of his or her life.
I encourage you to seek out an attorney licensed in your state to find out more about your rights and the process for fighting for custody of your grandson.