The Colorado Court of Appeals is set to hear a case involving a 6-year-old girl with dual citizenship in both Latvia and the United States. The girl was apparently visiting Denver, Colorado, with her father when he died of a heart attack. The girl’s mother had also died shortly after her birth. The father’s will states that guardianship of the child was to be transferred to the girl’s nanny who had been living with and taking care of her for the majority of her life. According to reports, the girl also called the nanny “Mommy.”
However, the case got complicated when the child’s half-sister, who was reported to be estranged from their father, objected to the girl going back to Latvia to live in her father’s house with the nanny. The half-sister asked the courts to grant guardianship to a young couple the half-sister was in contact with in Highlands Ranch who had agreed to take care of and raise the child. A Denver Probate Court judge ruled that the couple and a life in America was in the best interest of the child.
The nanny is now appealing the ruling, with her attorney claiming that the judge let the nanny’s age and demeanor — she was noted by her lawyer as appearing “grandmotherly, stern and foreign” — inappropriately sway his decision. The appeal also argues that the Denver judge did not have jurisdiction in the cases, and that it is clearly not in the best interests of the child to live with strangers in new country than with a long-term caregiver in her family home.
This case shows that even with taking precautions such as designating a caregiver in a will, custody battles can happen in just about any situation. No matter what circumstances you find yourself dealing with, talking with a family law attorney is the first step to finding out more about your options.
Source: Westword, “Latvian Girl Custody Case: Appeal Claims Pro-American Bias,” Alan Prendergast, March 04, 2016