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Grandparent Custody Rights may play role in Sheen Drama

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Sheen vs. Mueller: Who Should Get Custody of the Twins?

 By Fred Silberberg

Reviewed by Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Family Law Division Leader

As we know, it is not the first time such an allegation has surfaced in regard to this particular relationship.

However, the disclosure that Mueller herself is in rehabilitation raises the question of whether either one of these individuals are really appropriate to parent these very young children.

In granting custody to Mueller, it appears that the court actually granted custody to her mother, someone we know little, if anything about.

California allows for grandparent visitation, but typically it is the grandparent who comes forward and asks for it.

This gives the court an opportunity to do some inquiry into whether the visitation is appropriate. Here, what we have occurring is that the grandmother receives custody by virtue of the fact that her daughter is not available to care for her children and her son-in-law has been restrained from having custody.

If neither parent is fit to parent the children, the law provides that the state may seek custody of the children and place them in foster care.

It is a sad fact that most of the time when this occurs, it is in a family where there is little in the way of financial means.

However, the legal standard for making this determination again, is the children's best interests.

While no one seems to know for certain exactly what it is that is causing Sheen to act the way he has been, it would appear that his behavior is so outlandish at this point that his judgment when it comes to parenting the children is impaired.

At the same time, with Mueller herself essentially unavailable other than four hours a day, it appears that neither parent may be appropriate.

In Pennsylvania, if neither parent is available to care for the child(ren), the courts will appoint a third party.  The courts must look primarily for a relative to fit this appointment.  Most grandparents can become emergency foster care providers.  This would mean that the child(ren) would go immediately to the grandparents instead of into a third-party foster care placement. However, the grandparents must be diligent and maintain contact with the social services agency.  Utilizing an attorney for this purpose is always recommended.  If you have questions about your rights as a grandparent, contact the experienced team at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC at /Family-Law/ or at 717-695-8849. You may contact Attorney Jeffrey Engle directly at [email protected].

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