This Week’s Pro Bono Success Story
An active duty Army Reservist, stationed in Virginia, had a teen-aged granddaughter who was abandoned by her biological mother in California. The mother, suspected of heavy drug use, left her daughter with her current boyfriend’s parents who had no legal relationship to the child. The Reservist wanted to gain legal custody of his granddaughter, but he could not afford to hire an attorney. The Military Pro Bono Project was able to recruit a California attorney to handle the case pro bono. The attorney initiated guardianship proceedings, but complicating matters was the fact that the missing mother had a prior custody order for the child issued in another jurisdiction. The attorney was able to untangle the jurisdictional and notice issues, after which it was then discovered that a petition had previously been filed in a California Juvenile Court and that the granddaughter had been made a dependent of the Juvenile Court. The attorney was able to work with the Child Welfare Services social worker to prepare the paperwork to ultimately placed the grandchild in the servicemember’s custody.