1. mikoyeahyeah
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    mikoyeahyeah New Member

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    Child Custody

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by mikoyeahyeah, Jun 23, 2010.

    I have an idea for a dark story and I have a simple question.

    Would there be any opposition, in reality, to somebody who has been to prison for a non-violent crime, to inherit children if no other family members exist?

    I know the state would oppose to a violent offender, but, say the offense is conspiracy, or theft. Would this be possible?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If he is the biological father, and no other relatives were available, I think he would stand a chances of being awarded custody.

    If he was convicted of a sexual crime, violent or not, he would not be considered. And I'm sure experts would be called in to testify whether the children would be at risk for any reason in his custody.

    Conspiracy may be considered a violent crime, and so could theft. Something like passing bad checks, or insider trading, or leaving the scene of an accident with injuries might make the court inclined to favor custody, especially if he was an early release for good behavior. Anything that makes him look like a career criminal would not,

    Also, the court would probably not want to displace the children if they were in stable foster care for some time at the time of the father's release.
     
  3. mikoyeahyeah
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    mikoyeahyeah New Member

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    He wouldn't be the father.

    My idea is more of a mad scientist story. He would be, say an uncle, except when he inherits children, nothing goes good. He would torture the child because the child would get in his way of world domination.

    He is obviously insane, but the state would have no legal reason to keep the child away.

    The crime would be substantial and in the realm of arrested for trying to dominate the world, kind of thing.

    I'm not sure if I am explaining this right.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it possible to 'inherit' children in the US? I've seen a couple of movies where this happened e.g. Diane Keaton inherited her cousin's daughter in one, but it isn't possible in the UK. The child would be taken into care, then the person would have to go through the full adoption screening before/if the child was to be given over to them. I couldn't even adopt my step daughter in the UK (although I did in Turkey) because I don't live there, so she couldn't apply, as my dependant, for British nationality.

    You could get around these modern legal niceties by setting the story in the 19th century...
     
  5. mikoyeahyeah
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    mikoyeahyeah New Member

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    Generally, today, in the states (which is the setting), the closest living relative is generally the first choice when placing a child whose parent have passed, as far as I know anyway.
     
  6. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    When it comes to a custody case, the better the rap sheet, the better chance a parent/relative has of getting the child. In today's world though, it'd be hard for a mad scientist to keep children if he's insane and abuses them. Often times a child who's been adopted or gone through a custody case will have a social worker come and constantly check on them for a few years after.

    As for the inheritance thing, the only way a person can do so is if the living parents left it in their will with a custody document to the person they wish to have that child. Unless parents sign guardianship or custody over to another person, they cannot inherit that child without some sort of court action. Then you just have a long and painful battle on your hands.
     
  7. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    That would be extremely difficult. Even if he had a squeaky clean record. I'm nearly certain they would still send social workers to check up on them. If there was even a hint at something wrong they would be taken by CPS.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Only a parent, or possibly a grandparent, would have an automatic standing in the courts that could outweigh a criminal record, and that would not prevail if there were serious offenses on record. If another blood relative were designated for custody it the last-deceased parent, that would not be honored in most courts if the named relative has a criminal record.

    Anyone else would have to satisfy the criteria of a foster parent, meaning a thorough background check, and spot checks by a case supervisor.

    Child abduction would actually be more plausible, but that's an entirely differen kettle of carp.
     
  9. rhsexton
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    rhsexton Member

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    You say the scientist is 'obviously insane'. That might go without say, but if he's done anything to be considered 'clinically insane', the chances of him gaining custody to children would be so low it would be criminal for it to happen (IMO).

    Something to consider to make the concept work. I don't know how many police shows I've seen involving social workers who are so overworked, they may miss timely visits with kids under their responsibility. Couple that with the Scientist's lack of being being caught doing anything truly heinous and you might have a somewhat believable set of circumstances.
     
  10. Sonata
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    Sonata Member

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    Does it have to be set in the real world? Have you read lemony snicket's a series of unfortunate events?
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, this dark story may have to occur outside the bounds of our reality, or you may have to concoct some reason for this person to have these children. "Obviously insane" is very much a reason for the state to deny custody. Perhaps you might have to transport this story in time from the modern day to some time in the past when the law was less complex. Don't know.
     
  12. mikoyeahyeah
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    mikoyeahyeah New Member

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    Well, it's already in another world. He is everything a mad scientist should be. He's not clinical, but definitely crazy. But he has technologies that don't exist here (shrink rays, powerful lasers, etc.)

    But, he doesn't want the kid(s). More like Series of Unfortunate Events.

    Maybe if the parents put in the will that the children go to family and not foster care?
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If the story happens outside the bounds of reality, as in a dark comedy where the absurd is the expected, then I wouldn't worry overly much about the technicals matching up with real law. Think about super hero comics/movies. Even outside of their superhero powers, their worlds do not answer to the law. In the real world, superheroes would be criminals themselves because they operate outside the letter of the law, and yet still as readers (or watchers in movies) we turn a blind eye to this fact. It doesn't matter to us as the observer because that's not what the story is about.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a will will make no difference, since one cannot legally 'inherit' children...

    if parents specify in their will that they want someone to be the guardian of their minor children, the court will take that into consideration, but the final decision will still have to be made by a judge, after children's services looks into the background and suitability of the person so named...

    and if there's any indication/evidence of his not being fit to raise them, he won't get them...

    in all cases, the children will have a court-appointed guardian ad litem [usually an attorney], who will be charged with protecting their interests in all legal matters...
     
  15. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Wrybies (sorry if I got sp wrong!) is right.

    If it's not our reality then I wouldn't worry with it. If it's another reality you can pretty much do whatever you please with that.
     
  16. LaPetitePierrot
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    LaPetitePierrot Member

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    Can't you make it so that he was never caught for any of the BIG crimes he's commited, but only served a bit of jail time for skipping out of a parking ticket or something?

    And uhh, you seen the trailer for the move Despicable Me? Might wanna do that.
     
  17. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I don't know if it helps at all, but one of my parents passed when I was a child and I was shifted to the custody of my other parent, who was a felon. There was no problems or anything, but then again the court system does seem to favor the mother, especially here in California. You might want to consider having the children going to said family member in the will of the parents. When my mom was involved in a car accident she had a will made that said I would be put in the custody of my aunt, who wasn't even related to me by blood.

    If nothing else, remember that there is always a loophole somewhere. To top it off, lawyers are paid to be the human version of a snake.
     

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