Godparents rights

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Latest post 05-14-2010 1:00 PM by OliviasMom. 6 replies.
  • 05-14-2010 3:11 AM

    Godparents rights

    I have a Goddaughter who is 2 1/2 years old, she is the most loving, polite, awesome little girl and I love her to the end of the world. When she was born I stayed with her for her first week, I got up with her in the middle of the night, I fed her, I changed her, I comforted her when she cried. Since she was born I have made it a point to be in her life no matter what. She stays with me often, and is to the point that anytime she sees me she gets her little shoes on, gets her diper bag and goes and sits in her car seat. Her mother and I have grown apart so much, and the only reason that I still talk to her mom is to keep in contact with my godbaby. I have watched her mom spiral out of control with her party lifestyle. I have also watched how this lifestyle has affected her as a mother. She has a hard time holding a job, shows up late, works part time sometimes only 4 hours a week. She jumps from man to man in order to have a place to live. She refuses to get professional help from the state claiming that they will not help her. She battles a drug and alcohol addiction that is just awful. She would rather spend her last 40 dollars on boose or drugs then on food. I have had to buy groceries for her and the baby on multiple occasions. I also provide a lot of the baby's clothes and toys being that her mother claims that she doesn't have the money for any of that. Yet, her mother refuses to get a real job, a place to live, get clean, ect. Her mother met with me and my mom 2 days ago for dinner, she didn't eat but was sure to have a few beers. While we were there she starts to tell my mom and I about how she doesn't like how her new boyfriend is mean to her daughter, that she caught her boyfriend sleeping naked with his 9yr old daughter, and that the baby has "Vaginitis" and green stuff is coming out of the baby's privets. She claims that she took both of the girls to the doctor and was told that there was no sign of sexual abuse and supposedly got some cream for the baby. She continued to tell us about how she and the new boyfriend fight about how to raise the baby, and that she has lightened up on hitting the baby, and shouting at her. She also goes on to tell us that he doesn't see the harm in undressing and dressing his daughter in her sleep. My mother and I explain that this is not normal behavior and that she needs to get her and the baby out of the situation. I gave her a pamphlet for the local Citizens Against Domestic Violence center and she says that she will call, but then back tracks and says that her boyfriend really is not that bad and things are getting better. 

        So here is my question, knowing these things, and being the Godmother, what are my rights? I know that this sitution is not healthy for any child. I want to get temporary custody of my Godbaby so that I know that she is safe. I would like to see her mother get her life straight and provide a safe and healthy environment for the child, but I feel that at this current time she is not willing to do that. What would I need to do to gain the temp. custody or guardianship? I have a stable job, and I am building my career, I have a stable place to live, I pay my bills. What are the things that the court will need to see to prove that I would be a good canidate for helping this little one out? Please help. Thanks

  • 05-14-2010 4:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Godparents rights

    I am not a lawyer but wanted to give my opinion anyway.  I don't think the law gives Godparents any more rights than any other non-family member.  That will make things tough.

    Do you think she's give you guardianship if you ASKED her?  That may be one way to do it.

    Or if she gets reported to child protective services and they do find out all of what you said is true they will probably remove the child and put her in foster care.  I don't know if the mother could then say that she would rather have you take her rather than a stranger?  Hard to say since you are not related to her.  If you were related to her it would make things much easier.

  • 05-14-2010 6:16 AM In reply to

    Re: Godparents rights

    While you are emotionally bonded to the little girl as far as the law goes Godparent is a spiritual role only.  Your best option is to notify Child Protective Services that she is at risk as well as the other child as well possibly.  

    "What would I need to do to gain the temp. custody or guardianship?"

    You would need to go to Social Services be screened as a foster parent and hope the court awards her to you if she is found to be at risk significantly.  Unless Mom voluntarily gives you custody the typical order that CPS uses in finding a foster home is blood relatives first and their own certified foster families second.  On rare occasions I am sure they have considered a Godparent but you should be aware the odds are slim outside of Mom going along with you on her own with you taking care of her.

     

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 05-14-2010 7:24 AM In reply to

    Re: Godparents rights

    HollyBug86:
    So here is my question, knowing these things, and being the Godmother, what are my rights?

    A "godparent" is a social/religious thing. The term "godparent" means nothing legally. Under the law, a godparent has no more right to seek custody of the child than does any stranger off the street. If you fear for the child's safety, call the child protective services (or whatever it is called in your state) and report the problem. If the child is being abused, the most important thing is to get her out of that situation, even if that means foster care for a time. While you could try to qualify as a foster parent to have a shot at having the child placed with you, that takes time, and the child may not have the luxury of time. Apart from that, your only other option is if the mother agrees to let you care for the child for the time being.

  • 05-14-2010 9:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Godparents rights

    In my state, when a child is removed, CPS asks the parents who in their circle might be an appropriate placement.  Parents can name relatives or what my state calls "fictive kin", who are people not related by blood but who have close relationships.  Nearby relatives are considered first, and if no one is either found or is acceptable, nearby fictive kin is considered next.  Nearby fictive kin is preferable to relatives who are not very near (30 miles or so) because parental contact must be maintained if possible.  Foster care is the last resort.

    You might consider calling CPS and asking to talk to the office's Placement Coordinator about their decisionmaking process about placement.  In my state, all relatives and fictive kin must pass background checks and home inspections (not requiring a home study but just a walk through of the home).  This takes a little time but not much.  If this could be accomplished before the child is removed, it's preferred because then the child doesn't have to go to foster care while clearance is accomplished.  If a move can be eliminated, that is, if the foster care step can be eliminated, CPS prefers that because it's best for the child as it involves less trauma, no matter how young the child.

    You also might consider being the one to report the situation to CPS.  They will preserve your anonymity, although the mother may figure it out if you are the only one who knows all of this.

    Let us know how it goes, please.

     

  • 05-14-2010 12:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Godparents rights

    You have no rights.

    A godparent is a religious concept. It has no legal definition and no specific rights. This is not your child. You need to let her mother be her mother. If the child is actually in danger, call CPS. Otherwise, you need to learn how to disengage.

  • 05-14-2010 1:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Godparents rights

    Unfortunately you have almost no rights here as a godparent has no legal role, just a religious/spiritual one.

    Where is the child's father? He needs to know what is going on. I assume boyfriend is not the father or is he?

    You can call CPS but there is a chance the child will bw removed and placed with someone else, either a relative or foster home.

     Please monitor the situation call CPS if necessary.

     

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