How Do We Track Down a Missing Child or Grandchild?

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Dear Esq.,


How do we find an address for our missing grandson? Before custody papers were filed my son’s ex-girlfriend fled with his son. The courts, lawyers, and everyone we have talked to cannot help until he gets an address to serve her papers for visitation. How do we get an address?

We know the city, her social security number, and cel phone number, but cannot get an address.


Dear Grandpa,

I know that it is very frustrating not to be able to see your grandson, and of course at least as much so for your son to not be able to see his own son. Unfortunately you, as a grandparent, cannot do very much, relatively speaking. In most states grandparents have only limited rights.

The good news is that your son can do a great deal. Given that you have not only her social security number, but also her celphone number, it should be relatively easy for your attorney to determine her address. Whether the Court will allow you to have the address is another matter, based on the facts surrounding your son’s relationship with the mother of his child. If there are allegations of domestic violence, for example, the Court may order that your son may not know their home address (this all varies widely from state to state).

In any event, there are ways that you can effect service of a complaint without having the address if your attorney can demonstrate that you have done your best to find out where your grandson’s mother is living and working, such as “publication”, where you post a notice in the local newspaper. Once the case is filed, your attorney should be able to subpoena the records of the celphone carrier, as that will have your grandson’s mother’s home address. Depending on the state in which the case is being heard, your attorney may or may not need the Court’s permission to issue that subpoena.

Also, if your son is paying child support through either an agency or wage garnishment, there is, somewhere, an agency who knows her address.

All that said, however, given that your son has her celphone number, the best way for you to get to see your grandson is for your son to attempt to talk with his son’s mother, on neutral ground, to try to work the issues out. If that seems impossible, you can enlist the assistance of a good co-parenting counsellor, who can even make the call to set up a time for the three of them to meet.

Good luck, and hopefully you will be seeing your grandson soon.


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