Grandma Wants Legal Guardianship – Jamaica Observer


Dear Mrs. Macaulay,

I would like to bring some stability to my granddaughter. I live in the United States (US). My son is his father (his name is not on his birth certificate) and he also lives in the United States. His mother is another story but she does not provide him with any type of support. I would like to obtain her legal guardianship and bring her to the United States. How can I go about it?

You didn’t state your granddaughter’s age, but I’m hoping she’s under 18. I also don’t know what you really mean by the statement that the mother provides no support. Do you mean that she does not provide any financial or other support to her child, or that she does not provide any care or advice? Are you saying she shows no interest in her child and his education? That she completely fails in all the obligations of a parent, that she is, in other words, a bad parent?

You say that as a result you want to provide some stability for your granddaughter and want her to live with you in the United States. I understand by your non-specific language that you mean that you wish to have legal guardianship, custody of her, and care and control of your granddaughter. You wish to have him under your direct daily care in your stable and loving home and, in addition, to provide for all his material necessities for his correct and healthy development.

What should you do then? First you need to understand that even if you and your son have agreed and “know” that the child is your granddaughter, this must be established by law. Your son must therefore take legal steps to have a declaration of paternity drawn up declaring that he is the father of the child. You, as a so-called grandparent, cannot have locus standi be appointed guardian and be granted legal custody and care and control, without such a legal declaration with an order recording the fact in your granddaughter’s birth records and birth certificate. This, of course, requires that your son, and ultimately you, must retain and obtain the services of an attorney to act for both of you to prepare for any claims that need to be made in court. In your particular situation, it would be in the Supreme Court of Justice of Jamaica, as you no longer reside in Jamaica, and as you are not a parent but a grandparent and wish to be the legal guardian of the child and have custody, care and control of the child. This is within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

For the request for declaration of paternity of your son, this can be done before the family court of the parish where the mother and your granddaughter reside. However, this would mean going to two different courts as the claims must all be prepared and filed at the respective court registry/office and then served on the mother who will be the respondent at your son’s request. You would need your son’s agreement and active support. Your son and mother would be respondents to your claim. The relevant law is the Children (Guardianship and Custody) Act.

Applying for a declaration of paternity for your son would require that a DNA test be performed, which requires that specimens of your son and his alleged daughter be obtained and tested as ordered and the result be submitted to court for review. can make decisions. If the test shows that your son is the father of the child, then the declaration of paternity will be made and subsequent orders will be requested.

In the extraordinary event that your son disagrees with your plans, you can request a declaration that you are the grandparent of the child by asking the court to order that the samples be taken. about you and the child for the relevant DNA test to be done by a designated laboratory and the results provided to them. I know for a fact that this has been done successfully when the mother has died or abandoned the child and run away and is nowhere to be found, or is a bad parent, and grandparent(s) statements are made and consecutive orders are sought. If you must make the application, it must be made in the Supreme Court and, in this case, an emergency affidavit with the grounds/reasons for an urgent hearing must accompany your application. If the DNA test in these circumstances shows that you are indeed a grandparent of the child, then your request for the other orders (which should have been included in your fixed date request form) can all be processed during the same hearing by the judge.

You certainly need the assistance of a lawyer to properly prepare all necessary applications to the competent court to hear and decide the issues in dispute and request that you and your son appear at the hearing online by videoconference/Zoom if either or both of you cannot travel to attend in person for acceptable, reasonable and understandable reasons. There are several issues that must legally be included in your application(s) and supporting affidavit(s) on behalf of yourself and your son, making this an absolute requirement. whether you need the services of a lawyer with legal knowledge and experience to prepare and guide you and your son successfully through the hearing of the claims.

I have tried not to answer you in a very legalistic way, but I have tried to clarify the legal steps to be taken.

I hope I have made it clear to you that there is nothing in the way of you not being able to fulfill your laudable wishes for your granddaughter and for her to have the loving, stable and secure home that you would provide for her. and thus allow her to seize all the opportunities for her development, so that she can realize all her dreams and achieve all her goals.

Please act as soon as possible to obtain the necessary legal representation and save your granddaughter as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours, your son and your granddaughter.

Margarette May Macaulay is a lawyer, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Email your questions to [email protected]; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Ms. Macaulay cannot provide personal answers.


The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.


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