Can I get custody of my niece and nephew if I am an illegal alien? 4 Answers as of December 21, 2010

My husbands niece went to prison, and her kids were homeless. I took them in to my home with my two daughters. The children are American citizens, but I am not. I want to become their guardian, but am I able to? I am worried to put them in the foster care system because we do not want to lose them. There is no other family.

The boy is 13 and the girl is 4. She is still traumatized from having lost her mom, and is very attached to me. How can I take care of them?

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Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
You might be able to obtain legal custody despite your immigration status. You did not explain why you have to seek a court order. Unless you are facing deportation, you can simply raise the children. You did not mention if some governmental agency is attempting the take the children. I do not know why you mentioned the foster care system, which has both wonderful and horrible foster homes, of course.

See Family Law Form GC-210, available and fillable on-line at:
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/fillable/gc210.pdf

Several other forms are required as well. Review the forms and information at the following URL:

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/fillable/gc210.pdf
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/21/2010
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
No you cannot. Is your husband a citizen? If so he can obtain guardianship.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2010
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
Only parents can get custody. What you are referring to is guardianship. Non-parents can act as guardians (and have the children in their home) if the parents are unable to provide for the children. As for the issue of legal resident status, I don't know that the court investigator will necessarily care, but they do a thorough investigation of your background. I cannot say that the court will care about it but they might, since your resident status could effect your ability to remain here and that would put them right back into the system. It would probably be better to have a legal resident apply for guardianship, if one is available to do so. Is there any possibility that you could seek legal resident status without leaving the country?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2010
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
You can file a petition for guardianship.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2010
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