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They wanted to live with their mother, Linda and Sam finally raised their hesitant voices

Sibling photo

Twelve-year-old Linda* and her seven-year-old brother, Sam*, were living with their maternal grandmother. Their mom had been a teen mom and she had previously lived in the grandmother’s household with them, but their mother left.  She came back and wished to take her children with her.  The grandmother forbade it and the mother petitioned for custody.   Linda and Sam did not want to be in the middle and were reluctant, at first, to share information with their CLC attorney or social worker and would not express a preference as to where they wished to live.  As the CLC team worked with Linda and Sam, the children began to reveal that the grandmother hollered at them and hit them, sometimes with clothes hangers. However, the children asked that the information remain confidential, as they were apprehensive about how the grandmother would react.

Forensic evaluations of the parties and the children were completed, and substantiated CLC team’s concerns. After meeting with Linda and Sam again, the children gave their attorney permission to reveal to the court how the grandmother punished them and disparaged the mother in their presence and that they wanted to live with their mother, but loved their grandmother. 

CLC requested an immediate change of custody, based on the theory that the court had sufficient information to enter a temporary order without a full-blown hearing. After reviewing the considerable information available, the court changed custody of the children to their mother prior to trial. At trial, the investigation conducted by the CLC social worker and attorney was vital in cross-examining witnesses and demonstrating why remaining with the grandmother would be contrary to the wishes of the children and their best interests.  A final order of custody was granted to the mother.

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*The children illustrated are not CLC clients and client's name have been changed to maintain the privacy of the parties.

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