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Legal Guardian issues in North Carolina

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  • Legal Guardian issues in North Carolina

    My husband and I were given legal custody of his 15 year old niece that lives in NC. We live in VA. and the judge ruled in NC without ever meeting us or asking us if we wanted custody other than through the NC Social Service System which contacted my husband via a phone call. This was all done in a matter of one week and she was in our house in VA one week before school started. No one explained what was involved or there was no home study. VA Social Services had a hard time accepting her as legal because the judge violated the interstate compact law when he did not involve VA Social Services and go through the paperwork and procedure that is set up through the states. We had a hard time at first getting health insurance for his niece, but finally went through.

    His niece lived with us for a year and went to school for a year in VA. and we received child support from NC Social Services from the parents. His niece was unhappy living in VA and wanted to be in NC with her relatives and friends. We let her throughout the year and holidays visit family in NC under the supervision of her Grandparents and her older brother. She visited during the summer and decided that she did not want to come back and since she could not register in school in NC, we signed her up for an online home school program through the permission of the VA school system. We do have a letter from a lawyer that her family obtained that states that my husband can allow her to live with anyone that he chooses or give temporary custody to. Right now we have given temp. custody through a letter that has been notarized to her 20 year old brother.

    In doing all this we get a call that she is 15 and pregnant. She will turn 16 in 2 months and my husband and I are very distressed. We do not want her back in our house- we have two younger children of our own that we are concerned about. She wants to emancipate herself at 16 and we will give her permission. My husband and I are very concerned about her medical expensive and legally what happens when she turns 16. She is receiving free care at the NC health department and they are telling her that when she turns 16 they cannot give her free treatment anymore unless the child support checks stop coming to us. I am not sure if I believe that or not? My husband and I want this issue resolved and do not want custody of the child anymore and we do not want to be responsible for her pregnancy. We do not have a lot of money and do not want to incur court cost over this issue and we are not sure where to go from here? Who has precedence over this case, VA or NC? VA sees her as an illegal interstate compact case. Can she be emancipated – with other posting I have read being pregnant and 16 does not automatically emancipate her in NC? We want to ensure that we are not responsible for her and that she cannot come back and live with us. We want this resolved so we can get on with our lives. We need some advice, please help……..

    Stressed Legal Guardians in VA

  • #2
    Sorry I don't have any advise for you but to contact a atty experienced in family law & custody issues. It is very UNLIKLEY that at 15/16 she will be able to be emancipated. Every state has diffrent rules about emancipation. Some states don't allow it at all.

    In order to be emancipated she must prove in a court of law that she can fully care for her self AND her child. She must prove that she is employed and can hold employment for a amount of time that will allow her living condition to be stable. She must prove that her employment will allow her enough money each month to pay for rent(500 + mo), All utility bills - gas - electric - heat -water exc , food, household items, and all other essentials BY HERSELF WITH NO HELP FROM ANY OUTSIDE SOURCE. Emancipation makes a minor a legal the courts will not take into account any support she is getting from any other source other than her own employment. If they see her young age will prevent her from making enough money to survive on her own....they will not allow her to be emancipated. The chances are VERY SLIM that a court would allow a pregnant 15 year old to live with out a guardian. They will not emancipate her or make her a legal adult so she can go live with her brother and be taken care of as a minor. Emancipation is for individuals who are in bad living situations & intend to fully care for themselves.

    It is sad that you would abandon a child when she most needs guidence, love, and support. I could never imagine putting financial concerns above the well being of my own flesh and blood.



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