How do I get custody of my stepson? 20 Answers as of August 24, 2011

My almost 15 year old step son wants to live with us but his mother refuses. She is moving into a bad area, and that is his reasoning behind the change. He is also supposed to be registered for school already. She has done nothing for that, and has not even gotten him a physical. She has left him in our care, but said she will fight any attempt we have to change custody so he can go to school here. What are our options, as time is running out?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You will need to commence a nonparental custody action unless you live with the child's father, then file a petition to modify the parenting plan.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
File a Motion for Standing as well as a Complaint for Custody. I you have been acting "in loco parentis," then explain to the court why the stepson would be best served by being in your custody.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
In a divorce unfortunately you have no right to have custody of your Stepson. You can petition in juvenile court for custody stating that the mother is unfit but this is a very high standard to meet.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/14/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
If you have not adopted the child, you have no rights
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/13/2011
Meriwether & Tharp LLC
Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
In Georgia, a child 14 years of age and older can "elect" which parent they wish to live with, and this election is typically honored by the Courts. You have to file the election as part of your modification of custody action.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    You should immediately seek a change in custody with the courts. If the mother does not agree to the change in custody, you may request that the court appoint an attorney for your step son. You may wish to look at the school by his mother's house and compare it to the school by your home. You should contact an attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Generally, the custody is for the parent, which in this case, I assume would be the father. He has the ability to file an Order to Show Cause regarding change of custody/visitation. I would advise doing it immediately if timing is an issue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    I have about 100 questions I would like to ask. I am not optimistic you can achieve much before the start of the school year. Please see a local domestic relations attorney soon to determine what you can do in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    Depends. Your rights exist only if you adopted the boy. No rights if you did not. If you did then this problem should be worked out in divorce. If not and the child is in danger DHR can remove the child and place him in a foster home. In any case you need to speak with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Your options are either to get the mother to agree or to file a lawsuit for a change of custody based upon the change of circumstances surrounding the mother's move. While a child's preference is only one factor of many, it counts a little more when the child is older. Many boys want to live more with their fathers when they reach the age of puberty or more, merely because they feel that as a need. Your change of custody case may do well based on the facts you have related.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    As a step-parent you have virtually no legal basis to obtain "custody" unless both bio-parents are dead or agree to you taking over as the "legal" parent. Your spouse is the father, apparently, so it is his responsibility to seek a modification of the court-ordered Parenting Plan so that the child can reside with him (You simply come with the territory). (That assumes that there is an existing parenting plan allocating responsibilities between the father and the mother; if that assumption is wrong, father needs to begin a judicial paternity case to acquire specific parental responsibilities, including a determination of primary residence for the child. The 15 year old's desires will be considered, but his preferences are not controlling or binding on parents or the court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/12/2011
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