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  1. #1
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Will Virginia allow a step-parent to be a legal guardian?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Virginia

    My husband and I have been married for eight years. He has physical custody of the two girls and shares joint legal custody with their mother. He is in the Navy and deploys often. This past year, it was really difficult for me to get the children care even with a specific power of attorney and a general power of attorney.

    Their mother is in their life and sees them approximately every other weekend. She does not have a very flexible schedule so when I am taking the girls to the doctor, picking them up from school, etc, she cannot do it if the doctor or school will not accept the POA. I take care of them on a day to day basis when their father is deployed. (This past year he was gone 314 days of 365).

    Is it possible to make me a legal guardian to the kids even though their mother and father are both still living? We have tried the power-of-attorney and have experienced so many problems with them over the years. I in no way am trying to take anything from their mother (and she knows this), but if Virginia law allowed me to be a legal guardian it would make everything so much easier. My husband is supportive of this as well as the kids (they are 16 and 14 now and we have a close relationship).

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Why are the girls not going to live with their mother while dad is deployed? That would be best for everyone unless for some reason mom does not want that.
  3. #3
    sometwo is offline Senior Member
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    This past year, it was really difficult for me to get the children care even with a specific power of attorney and a general power of attorney.
    What caused the difficulties? If the children were going to the same dr they always have then they would already know the situation from speaking to mom and dad before hand. Same with the schools.

    The only scenario where they wouldn't , that I can think of off the top of my head would be the ER, and they could easily phone mom asking for permission (as has happened with me before where they phoned my husband. )


    ETA: and Ditto what ECM said
  4. #4
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Why are the girls not going to live with their mother while dad is deployed? That would be best for everyone unless for some reason mom does not want that.
    The girls prefer to live with me. Their mom doesn't have a stable living situation and here they have stability, someone who can help them with their homework, and take them to soccer practice. She is not a bad lady, she just isn't as involved as they would like. Even if we gave them the option to live with her, they would prefer to stay here.
  5. #5
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    It's not up to them. Children do not decide where they live, their parents (meaning mom and dad, not you) decide. How does mom feel about all this?
  6. #6
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sometwo View Post
    What caused the difficulties? If the children were going to the same dr they always have then they would already know the situation from speaking to mom and dad before hand. Same with the schools.

    The only scenario where they wouldn't , that I can think of off the top of my head would be the ER, and they could easily phone mom asking for permission (as has happened with me before where they phoned my husband. )


    ETA: and Ditto what ECM said
    Well, my husband's 14 year old changed from a pediatrician to a general practitioner, had to attend physical therapy for her knee, and was in counseling for some issues she had with her dad being gone (she missed him so much, understandably).

    The schools and teachers know the situation and I had no problem with teacher conferences, but when it came time to register them, they only allow the legal parent to do it.

    Additionally, trying to call the insurance company ALWAYS gave me problems. It is just so frustrating. Even a temporary guardianship (if allowed) would be better than nothing...sometimes I felt the POA was useless. :-(
  7. #7
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    It's not up to them. Children do not decide where they live, their parents (meaning mom and dad, not you) decide. How does mom feel about all this?
    The children are old enough that they do have a say to where they live. The judge speaks to children once they are 14. Their mom was living with eight other people in a three bedroom house. That is not a place for them to be. She cannot help them with their homework and does not take them to soccer practice. She does not give them lunch money. The children have expressed a desire to live here, where they have stability and their own space. Although we have decided where they live, they are old enough to have input.
  8. #8
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenn13Jenn View Post
    The children are old enough that they do have a say to where they live. The judge speaks to children once they are 14. Their mom was living with eight other people in a three bedroom house. That is not a place for them to be. She cannot help them with their homework and does not take them to soccer practice. She does not give them lunch money. The children have expressed a desire to live here, where they have stability and their own space. Although we have decided where they live, they are old enough to have input.


    No hon.

    Children can offer a preference to the court between PARENTS.

    Not, as a rule, between a stepparent and a parent.

    And frankly even in Virginia, IF (and it's NOT a given) a judge agrees to hear the wishes of the children, the judge is under no legal obligation whatsoever to abide by those wishes.
  9. #9
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    No hon.

    Children can offer a preference to the court between PARENTS.

    Not, as a rule, between a stepparent and a parent.

    And frankly even in Virginia, IF (and it's NOT a given) a judge agrees to hear the wishes of the children, the judge is under no legal obligation whatsoever to abide by those wishes.
    True enough, BUT if I am a more stable parent than she is, the judge will allow the children to live with me. My husband originally got custody because she wasn't able to take care of them properly. I am not on here to discuss her shortcomings or bash on her. That is not necessary. I would just like to know if a guardianship is possible.

    And the children have spoken with a guardian ad litem regarding their wishes and the judge has taken that into account. (Along with stability factors).
  10. #10
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenn13Jenn View Post
    True enough, BUT if I am a more stable parent than she is, the judge will allow the children to live with me.
    You're not their parent.

    Minor legal point.



    My husband originally got custody because she wasn't able to take care of them properly. I am not on here to discuss her shortcomings or bash on her. That is not necessary. I would just like to know if a guardianship is possible.

    Really?

    Your last post suggests otherwise.
  11. #11
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    You're not their parent.

    Minor legal point.






    Really?

    Your last post suggests otherwise.

    True, I am not their parent. But I do take care of them everyday. That means more to me than the fact that I didn't carry them for nine months.


    I am not here to bash her...she loves them, but if people ask WHY they aren't living with her, I have to explain it.

    I just want some insight into whether I can get a guardianship. Can anyone help me?
  12. #12
    sometwo is offline Senior Member
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    True, I am not their parent. But I do take care of them everyday. That means more to me than the fact that I didn't carry them for nine months.


    I am not here to bash her...she loves them, but if people ask WHY they aren't living with her, I have to explain it.

    I just want some insight into whether I can get a guardianship. Can anyone help me?
    Its very highly unlikely you would get guardianship. The more likely scenario would be that they would live with mom who would have control over these issues and give the okay for them.

    When you talked to mom about these issues what did she say?
  13. #13
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sometwo View Post
    Its very highly unlikely you would get guardianship. The more likely scenario would be that they would live with mom who would have control over these issues and give the okay for them.

    When you talked to mom about these issues what did she say?
    They wouldn't live with her...her living situation isn't very stable and she even realizes that it is better that they live here.

    We talked to her and she realizes that it would be better for the girls but does admit that she isn't sure about giving it to me because it might hurt her pride. (Her words, not mine). Most likely, if it can be done, she will allow it because she has said repeatedly that she doesn't have the time to take care of the girls full-time at this point in her life.
  14. #14
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenn13Jenn View Post
    True, I am not their parent. But I do take care of them everyday. That means more to me than the fact that I didn't carry them for nine months.


    Jenn, it means more to you - absolutely, we get that.

    But it doesn't mean more to the LAW.

    Mom still has the absolute right to parent her children as and when Dad is unable to do so unless and until a court says otherwise, and this by far trumps any parenting plan your husband has in mind.



    I am not here to bash her...she loves them, but if people ask WHY they aren't living with her, I have to explain it.

    I just want some insight into whether I can get a guardianship. Can anyone help me?

    Your husband needs to speak with an attorney.

    Tuesday morning. First thing.
  15. #15
    Jenn13Jenn is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    Jenn, it means more to you - absolutely, we get that.

    But it doesn't mean more to the LAW.

    Mom still has the absolute right to parent her children as and when Dad is unable to do so unless and until a court says otherwise, and this by far trumps any parenting plan your husband has in mind.


    Fair enough. :-)




    Your husband needs to speak with an attorney.

    Tuesday morning. First thing.
    We have one...just trying to get some insight. Lawyers are expensive and we have already spent thousands...figured I would try the forum out for a change.

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