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My boyfriend has custody of his 8-year-old son. The mother left and never came back. The boy has some disabilities, and his maternal grandmother is offering to assume guardianship. My boyfriend has three other kids, and the 8-year-old needs more attention than he can give. If my friend gives his mother-in-law guardianship, would he still have rights regarding his son? They are doing the guardianship through the courts. What should he do to ensure he still can have the same rights?
If you’re looking for the same rights (ie, all the rights that come with full custody) while someone else serves as guardian, stop looking. Allowing the boy’s grandmother to become his guardian will by necessity require your boyfriend to cede some parental authority. He can’t expect to keep the same level of decisionmaking power.
That said, he can certainly maintain some rights. At the very least, partial custody or visitation should be possible. You may be able to work out some sort of shared responsibility for important decisions as well. Key to all this is your boyfriend’s lawyer.
You said the guardianship is being handled in court. That makes a lot of sense, as agreements forged anywhere else often prove difficult to enforce, and you don’t want that kind of uncertainty when you are dealing with the life of a child. However, in order to make sure your boyfriend maintains some of his parental rights, he should consider hiring his own attorney.
Given that the transfer of authority is amicable, it seems reasonable to use just one lawyer to make the arrangements. However, while a lawyer may claim to represent two parties, at some point he may run into a situation that requires him to favor one client over another. How confident are you that the lawyer handling this matter will ensure that your boyfriend maintains his rights?
Admittedly, hiring a lawyer can prove expensive. But there is more than one type of cost. And failing to hire his own advocate could saddle your boyfriend with costs that far outweigh the savings from not incurring legal fees.
I am having an argument with a friend. She says that smoking in the car with the windows rolled up and the children in the car is bad. I think that rolling the windows down is worse because car exhaust and other bad stuff outside could hurt my children. Who is right?
Let’s do a quick comparison.
Option A has children being forced to inhale the known carcinogens in cigarette smoke. With the windows closed, the smoke has nowhere to go but into the lungs of the people in the car, and it could take a long time to dissipate.
Option B has the cigarette smoke in the car mixing with air from the outside and dissipating. Plenty of it will stay in the car, but the dilution will make the effects of secondhand smoke on the children less severe. Yes, there is car exhaust in the air. But the concentration of pollutants in that air is extremely low – even in areas known for high air pollution – compared to the concentration you create when you smoke in a closed car.
This isn’t really an argument. Enclosing children in a car with a smoker in effect forces them to smoke. If your only options are the two you presented in your question, just open the window. However, I suggest a third option, one endorsed by a number advocacy groups and enforced by some governments – don’t smoke with your children in the car.
At least four states have already passed laws prohibiting adults from smoking in a car with children, regardless of whether you roll down the windows. While the constitutionality of such laws is debatable, the wisdom of the conduct they promote is not. Do the right thing for the kids. Wait to light up until they leave the car.
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