How do I get custody of my nephew who is being neglected by his mom? 41 Answers as of June 28, 2013

My sister has not really been a mother to either of her 2 kids. Our mother, their grandmother, raised her youngest ever since he was 3 months old. We have witnesses, besides just family members, but also the doctor’s office and friends. She only brings in food stamps. Our mother pays for everything, from his diapers to shoes to clothes etc. Now she is running around with people that are well known by the law as trouble (drug dealers and abusive to their girlfriends). Her other son is with his dad’s parents. How can we get custody of this little boy?

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NOLAN LAW LLC | Joshua J. Nolan
There are generally two methods of achieving your goal: (1) Get the mother to agree to name you (or someone else) as the child's guardian; or (2) File a complaint with Children's Services Board and have them investigate and (if appropriate) take custody of the children. If you file a complaint with CSB, and they take custody of the children, you (or another family member) have the right to seek custody of the child.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/7/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
You should file for guardianship.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/7/2012
THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
The first thing to do would be to get the state agency involved in this and then file a motion to get custody of the child, alleging everything you stated here (and being able to prove your case) and also state that you are in a better condition to take care of the child.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 8/7/2012
Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
Consult an attorney about filing for guardianship.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 8/3/2012
Attorney & Counselor at Law
Attorney & Counselor at Law | John Hugger
You can either file a Petition for parenting time or contact the local county social services department. The latter may or may not place the child with you if they remove the child from the mother's home.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Offices of Maryanne Spryszak-Hanna PC | Maryanne Spryszak-Hanna
    Is the father on the birth certificate? are the other grandparents fit to raise the child? You could call child protective services and report neglect and they could start a case. HOWEVER if the children's father is on the birth certificates and if he is a fit parent to raise the children, the he would have first crack at the children. If the other grandparents are raising the other child, and they are otherwise fit parents, even if both parents are not fit, the court will not like uprooting the child. However, they would likely encourage sibling visits.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    You can call DYFS, and you can have an attorney file for custody.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    If you believe this child is in danger you should file a report with Child Protective Services and let them know you are capable and wanting to care for the child. After investigation, they could place the child with you. Otherwise, you really don't have standing to file a motion for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Law Office of Charles M. Vacca Jr. | Charles Martin Vacca Jr.
    You may have to file for a guardianship, as you are not the legal/biological parent of this child.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    John Russo | John Russo
    You most likely will need State help i.e. IN RI DCYF. File a report with the State outlining your complaints against mom the State will investagate if your allegations are true they will file an action against her, and as close family members you can contact the State if they determine that some type of action is required and ask for placement of the children during the proceedings. This is a difficult area remember she is the parent and taking a child away from their mother or father is the civil answer to the criminal death penalty it is the last resort. There are other alternatives but it is not easy talk to a good family law attorney, not just any lawyer make sure they have a lot of years in the family court system.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Law Office of Joan M. Canavan | Joan Canavan
    You need to file a Petition for Guardianship of your nephew in the Probate Court of the county in which your nephew resides.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Contact the DCFS and ask them to investigate. Unfortunately Utah has lot standards for parents.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    This situation appears on the surface based on the information give may be very complex. I recommend you consult with and retain an attorney to handle the matter if you want to move forward with it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    I doubt you can, you could have DHR intercede and then file for custody if DHR removes the child.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Barbara Fontaine, Esquire | Barbara Fontaine
    You may have to get child protective services involved.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    File for guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    You cannot get "custody." Only parents can be granted "custody." What you are looking for is to file for guardianship. This is done through the probate court, not the family law court. You should consult with a probate attorney, as part of your efforts to obtain guardianship may be to seek to terminate her parental rights, unless she is willing to consent to your having guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    The Jordan Law Firm
    The Jordan Law Firm | John Paul Jordan
    You can file for guardianship of the child. You will probably want a good guardianship attorney just based on what you have described.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Law Offices of Christopher R. Smitherman, LLC | Christopher R. Smitherman
    You would have to file a petition with the juvenile court and have him found dependent. A parent is given preference over any non-parent... thus, to be successful, you would have to make allegations against the mother and against the father.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    You can file with the Superior Court for guardianship of your nephew. You can ask for an emergency order (technical term: temporary guardianship) if there is really an emergency. However, what is wrong with the Dad's parents? Certainly, you and your mother should have a relationship with this young man, but if the other grandparents are certified grown-ups and responsible people, and they have the child right now, probably they should keep the child. Offer to help then with the legal paperwork if they need help. Or maybe you, your mother and the other grandparents can all go to court together as joint guardians with a plan for where the child should live (which would be where he is now unless there is a really good reason to change.) It sounds to me as though this young man is handicapped by having loser parents, but with your help and that of both sets of grandparents, he seems to have plenty of people who love him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    You would have to file a request for guardianship and prove that your nephew is being neglected. Money will not be the issue. The issue will be if your nephew has been abused or endangered by this contact. I doubt you will be able to prove this or unless you can get child protective services to intervene.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You have to file a guardianship case to get custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Seeking third party custody is never easy. There is a presumption in favor of the parents because parenting is considered a fundamental right. You would have to show the children are endangered in the parents care. You should seek legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Unless you show the child is endangered or neglect and her parental rights are terminated by thew court, there is nothing you can do.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    You would need to file a change of custody suit against her in Superior Court.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    The appropriate step is to obtain guardianship. It would be either temporary or permanent, depending upon the nature of Mom's problems.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    Have her give you guardianship. If she won't, file a petition in the local probate court seeking guardianship for the reasons stated in your question.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Lombardi Law LLC
    Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
    One way to get custody of the child is to try to adopt him. In order for that to happen you will need to have his mother's consent or you must prove that she has not supported the child for a year and has had no meaningful contact. An attorney can help you with the red tape involved in an adoption proceeding. Another way may be to call the Office of Children's services. The problem with this is they may try to have the child reunited with the mother if she follows a case plan. Your best alternative would be to have an attorney help you with this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Pietryga Law Office | Russ Pietryga
    Usually, the best way to handle this is to file a petition with the juvenile court alleging that the child is being abused, neglected and/or dependent. Additionally, you would file a motion for temporary orders or a child protective order in the juvenile court. Once the juvenile court gets jurisdiction the case can go a couple different ways, they are: The court can allow the natural parents to get there act together. Note, if the natural father is fit, he has a presumption that the child will go with him. From the facts you presented, that does not seem to be the case. The petitioner (i.e., You/your family) could be awarded permanent custody and guardianship. This would allow custody to go with you or a family member. Note, this type of order allows the natural parent to file a petition to restore custody, if they ever get their act together. However, it is almost impossible to meet this burden, unless you or your family decide it is in the best interest of the child and stipulate to the change of custody. File a petition to "Terminate the parental rights" of the natural parents. This, of course, ends all say by the natural parents and allows the child to be adopted. This can be a complicated process and you are going to need to retain an attorney that is extremely familiar with the juvenile court process. Note, the natural parents will be appointed an attorney to defend this action. That is why, you will need an attorney to help you. Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Under the facts you relate, you have no legal standing to pursue a private action to involuntarily take the child from his parent. Only the State of Colorado, acting through the Child Protective Services division of the Department of Human Services can remove a child involuntarily. If the CPS finds abuse or neglect, the child could be removed and placed with you or anyone else. You need to consult an attorney who can advise you more thoroughly after a more comprehensive analysis of the actual facts and the consequences of CPS involvement.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    You can file a Petition for guardianship or a Motion for Custody. The better person to do this is the biological father but it sounds like he is not in the picture. If there is actual abuse or neglect contact CPS immediately. They can remove the child and their preference is to place children with responsible family members.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman | Tobie B. Waxman
    You do not have legal standing to get custody. You could apply for guardianship, but I would suggest instead that you contact Children Services and get them involved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    C. Michael Kelly, P.A.
    C. Michael Kelly, P.A. | Michael Kelly
    The easiest and fastest way to accomplish something like this is to convince the child's parents to allow a family member to become the child's caregiver by order of a court. Florida allows a relative to file a petition for "Temporary Custody to a Relative" in order to gain custody of a child. If both parents agree to this there is a short hearing resulting in the Judge entering an order giving custody to the relative. Child support and parental visitation can be addressed in the final order but that isn't a requirement. If the parents don't agree, giving custody to a relative becomes very difficult, but is still possible. The relative has to prove by clear and convincing evidence, that the parent(s) have abused, neglected or abandoned the child.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    You would have to petition to be appointed the childs guardian and show he is being neglected by his mother.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/31/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You need to hire an attorney, present the circumstances and file a petition, also potentially soliciting the help of assistance of various agencies.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/31/2012
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