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Taking custody of my Niece Rhode Island

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  • Taking custody of my Niece Rhode Island

    My niece who is 16 years old has been living with her mother (my sister) and her boyfriend until a month or so ago when the situation became unbearable and is no longer safe for her to live there. Her mother is unemployed (refuses to become gainfully employed) and is mentally abusive, her boyfriend is an alcoholic drug abuser that has recently gotten physically abusive with her. There is a video of the latest incident which has not been shown to police or child services. Police were called to the residence when the assault occurred but she was nervous and would not state that he had assaulted her and the video had not been recovered at that time. Child services was notified and followed up about a week later, as my niece has decided to live with us from now on, they felt that the situation was therefore "taken care of". She would like to live with us permanently and we would love for this to be so but we are unsure about what steps to take next. We have looked into having her emancipate herself but i'm not sure that is the correct way to proceed. Her mother does NOT want to sign over custodial rights and refuses to cooperate. How do I go about making this situation better for her. Do we adopt her? Petition the court for custodial rights? ANY advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    Do you know what is meant by the emancipation of a minor? It does not mean that she "divorces" her parents and goes to live with someone else who then assumes responsibility for her; it means that she is living on her own and managing all her own financial affairs. That means that she is paying for her own rent, utilities, food, clothing, medical care, insurance, transportation, staples, school fees and supplies, etc., all by herself and unassisted. It is not going to happen unless there is at least implicit agreement of her custodial parent. I think you can safely take emancipation right off the table.

    Frankly, unless you have the mother's cooperation, you're not likely to get anywhere with a custodial battle. You just might want to consider leaving well enough alone since the girl is with you now. Rock the boat too hard, and Mom may just insist on her coming back, and you would have no legal ground to stand on.

    Your ONLY other option is if your niece is removed from the home by CPS. The state does not take a parents rights away from them just because you ask.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      Agreed. Also, saying something is so and proving that something are so are two very different unrelated things. How much of what you just said can you prove in a court of law? If the answer is "very little", the last thing you want to do is start a legal action. There is a legal assumption that the parent has custody. There is a high and serious burden of proof to set that aside. If the parent is determined not be not fit, then CPS gets custody. At best you can ask CPS to be the foster parent. You have no inherent rights in the system.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

      Comment


      • #4
        I should also mention that even if CPS does find grounds to remove her, it is not a guarantee that she will be placed with you. It's not impossible since you are blood relatives and she is happy with you, but it's not carved in stone, either.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cbg View Post
          Do you know what is meant by the emancipation of a minor? It does not mean that she "divorces" her parents and goes to live with someone else who then assumes responsibility for her; it means that she is living on her own and managing all her own financial affairs. That means that she is paying for her own rent, utilities, food, clothing, medical care, insurance, transportation, staples, school fees and supplies, etc., all by herself and unassisted. It is not going to happen unless there is at least implicit agreement of her custodial parent. I think you can safely take emancipation right off the table.

          Frankly, unless you have the mother's cooperation, you're not likely to get anywhere with a custodial battle. You just might want to consider leaving well enough alone since the girl is with you now. Rock the boat too hard, and Mom may just insist on her coming back, and you would have no legal ground to stand on.

          Your ONLY other option is if your niece is removed from the home by CPS. The state does not take a parents rights away from them just because you ask.
          Thanks for your reply! I DO understand that Emancipation is not the option here as i stated...my main concern is my Niece's welfare and quality of life not a battle of any sort. The main issue here is her switching school districts to where she is living now. If my sister wont voluntarily change her to the district she lives in now how can I address this?

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm going to be blunt with you here - you don't. I understand what you're trying to do and I'm not unsympathetic, but Mom holds all the cards here. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, you can do to force Mom to surrender custody, guardianship, or any other form of control if she doesn't want to. As I've already said, unless your niece is removed from the home by CPS, in which case she may or may not be placed with you, there is little to nothing that can be done without Mom's cooperation. Mom has a legal right to parent her children, and the standard for fit vs. unfit parenting is set very, very low.

            Why has the video you have not been shown to the authorities? I have something in mind here but I'd like to know that first.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok

              Originally posted by cbg View Post
              I'm going to be blunt with you here - you don't. I understand what you're trying to do and I'm not unsympathetic, but Mom holds all the cards here. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, you can do to force Mom to surrender custody, guardianship, or any other form of control if she doesn't want to. As I've already said, unless your niece is removed from the home by CPS, in which case she may or may not be placed with you, there is little to nothing that can be done without Mom's cooperation. Mom has a legal right to parent her children, and the standard for fit vs. unfit parenting is set very, very low.

              Why has the video you have not been shown to the authorities? I have something in mind here but I'd like to know that first.
              Ok...first off, I'm agreeing with you that emancipation isn't an option.. as I have a better understanding of what it means. So there's really no need to "be blunt" as I'm not considering this as an option. Also, I'm not concerned with taking away my sister's parental rights, as I've stated, I'm mostly concerned with her going to the appropriate school now that she is living with us. If the case here is that she can just continue on living with us and complete her last 2 years of high school successfully than that's perfect. To answer your last question: the video hasn't been shown to child services/police as she now resides with us and isn't being forced to stay with her mother so she feels that it would be pointless to have her mother's boyfriend charged. She is also nervous and intimidated by her mother. She's comfortable being out of the house and just wants to move in with her life. Again..I'm not looking to actually take custody away from my sister, I'm looking to change her school to where we live now as easily as possible. That's really it.... My niece would like to do this as easily as possible without involving child services / police again.

              Comment


              • #8
                It wasn't the emancipation part I was being blunt about - I understand that you understand that is not an option.

                What I am trying to tell you is that you cannot change her school unless her mother agrees to it. Period. If Mom says no, then it's no. The law is going to support Mom's rights to parent her child, and I am not just talking about custodial issues. Parenting means choosing her school as well as providing her living space. You do not have any legal standing here except what Mom gives you. If your sister will grant you a temporary guardianship (which is not the same as custody - she would retain custody) that would give you the right to enroll her in school and, which has not yet been mentioned, get her medical care if needed. But if your sister will not grant that guardianship for whatever reason, the law is not going to force her to and the law will not give you a guardianship against her wishes.

                Again, unless she is removed from the home by CPS. Same qualifier as above.

                I understand that this is not the answer you want to hear. It isn't the answer I want to give you. I'm perfectly fine with your niece living with you and going to school there. But it isn't up to either you or me; it's up to her mother. No matter how much either of us would like there to be a way you can take legal charge of the girl over her mother's objections, there isn't. Not legally.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                Comment

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