How can a grandparent get custody of a grandchild?

Question: My daughter and granddaughter live with me in Jacksonville. I have been taking care of both financially and I am looking to get custody of my granddaughter. My daughter has not held a job and has a history of taking pills (which is why she quit her next to last job) and is now engaged (according to facebook) to some thug who I have a picture of him holding two guns. She also has a history of stealing (she has a charge on her now from Walmart) and has stolen my credit cards and money (just recently $100) out of my purse. I have to now hide my purse and keep my credit cards at my office in a locked drawer. My daughter has a history of not making good choices and I don't believe she is mentally nor financially prepared to take care of my granddaughter and make the best choices on behalf of my granddaughter and I'm afraid something will happen to her. The father is not in the picture at all. I have given my daughter every available tool to make something of herself (I've given her a vehicle) to go back to school and to get a job and she has done nothing. What would be my chances of getting custody?

Attorney Robert Elrod, Jr's Answer: In my view, you have a strong case for gaining custody of the child. There are a number of ways to proceed (grandparent custody as mentioned above or termination of parental rights followed by adoption of the child by you). One factor for the court to consider is how long have you had the child in your care. The overriding determination for the court to make is what is in the best interests of the child. So, I would need a little more information to properly advise you but I think you are doing the right thing. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have on this situation.