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Grandparents leave state with boy, mother finds him 19 years later

It is understandable that child custody issues are some of the most sensitive aspects of divorce. Few parents in Marietta want to lose contact with their children and the thought of spending drastically less time with them pushes many parents to fight hard for custody. In rare situations, Georgia child custody disputes won't be between mothers and fathers, but between one parent and grandparents, but like other custody battles, grandparents are eager to keep custody of their grandchildren.

There is, of course, a clear line between aggressively trying to prove that one parent or grandparent is the best person to have primary custody of children and violating state and federal laws to ensure he or she has custody of children. After 19 years of not knowing where her son was, a mother has finally found him after he was taken by his grandparents.

When the boy's mother and father divorced 19 years ago, the father had already made it clear that he wasn't going to be involved in the boy's life, so his parents stepped in to fight for custody. At least initially, the grandparents had temporary custody because the mother had a developmental disability, but after a while, the mother was able to get a home and a job. Once her life had settled down, she asked for custody of her son.

The judge awarded the mother custody for a trial period, but instead of giving their grandson to his mother, the boy's grandparents left their home and traveled across state lines. For 19 years they lived under assumed names, stopped using their Social Security numbers and basically disappeared. The grandparents were charged with interfering with custody, but no one could actually find them to arrest them and bring them in. It wasn't until the now-24 year-old man used his Social Security card to apply for a driver's license that the mother was finally able to learn about her son.

Source: Star Tribune, "After 19 years, Indiana mother finds her son in Long Prairie," Mary Lynn Smith, Jan. 12, 2013

To learn more about this story, please consult the source above. If you want to find out more about divorce and child custody in Georgia, please visit our website.

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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