Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
You need to contact an attorney or represent yourself and do a guardianship of the child. If his mother consents, it should not be a difficult process. You do not state anything in your question about the father, but it is likely he will need to consent as well, or you will have to make efforts to find and notify him.
If his mother won't consent due to the welfare issue, you can attempt to continue without her consent or work something out with her.
In most states "guardianship" is essentially equivalent to "custody"; the custodian/guardian makes decisions about and for the child, is responsible for the child, can authorize medical treatment, etc etc. Sometimes guardianship is given to a non-relative whereas custody is given to a biological parent. Although there are some minor differences, "guardianship" generally means the same thing as custody: a package which includes all the rights, duties and responsibilities of a parent. There are minor exceptions and variations here and there- in some states "custody" may not include authority over the child's estate (i.e. their property) whereas unqualified "guardianship" does. This kind of thing can vary depending upon the state the child resides in.
Hope this helps!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).