How can we initiate a change in custody for my sister? Posted on June 15, 2011

My half-sister is 14 and her father is abusive although the court does not recognize that. While her dad has had custody of her she has started smoking and has tried drugs often at his home. She runs off constantly, sneaks out and hangs out with people several years older than her. She struggles in school and has been suicidal on several occasions. She constantly says she hates her dad. Also, her father has been in jail for domestic battery in front of my sister and I, on our mother. I was 11 and my sister was 6 when the domestic battery occurred and I am the one that called the police. Recently the courts decided to allow my sister's dad to retain custody. Neither of her parents work, although our mother is on disability. Both of my sister's parents live with their parents. My first question is can my sister go to the courts to ask to live with our mother? My other question would be would my husband and I have a chance at winning custody if we chose to? We are both 20 years old and live in North Carolina, because he is active duty in the Marine Corps. I also have a full time job, so we could show a steady income and responsibility that my sisters parents lack. If we could potentially get custody of her what would be the best course of action? Finally, if my husband and I are not good candidates to get custody of my sister would my maternal grandparents have a good chance since they own a large enough home an both have full time jobs and live in Indiana? Please help, I have to find a way to get my sister out of this situation before something happens that will permanently damage her life.

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