Decisions regarding visitation and custody of children can involve more than just the parents as seen by the rise of grandparents who either have custody or seek visitation with grandchildren. One recent child custody case is garnering attention as it involves a grandmother who has defied a court order to turn over her grandchildren to their biological father. Pennsylvania parents who share custody with grandparents may want to understand how this case is unfolding and how it has come to involve two states and a reservation.
The two children had been living with the grandmother when she was ordered to return them to the father. Instead, she took them to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, where her daughter is a member. Because she is on the reservation, the grandmother cannot be arrested by state authorities. The tribe was asked to take part in the proceedings involving custody, but it has not done so.
The grandmother has stated the children would be in an abusive household if turned over to the father. An investigation into allegations was done, and there were no grounds found to believe the father was abusive. The grandmother was charged with two felonies, but those charges have been dismissed in one state. However, the other state involved may still file charges against the grandmother in regards to disobeying the order.
This child custody case is more complex than most cases in Pennsylvania because of the different entities involved. However, even when there is not another state or reservation involvement, disobeying an order to hand over children can lead to further legal complications and affect a child custody case. All parents and custodial grandparents should have a clear understanding of any orders and how to go about disputing that order if that parent or grandparent feels it is unfair or not in the best interest of the child.
Source: ktvq.com, “Grandmother in custody dispute no longer facing charges in Montana“, Simone DeAlba, Oct. 14, 2015