How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask RobertJDFL Your Own Question

RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10266
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
18284290
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
RobertJDFL is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I want to take custody of my 2yr old niece and my 4mo old nephew.

Customer Question

I want to take custody of my 2yr old niece and my 4mo old nephew. Their parents were not married. My brothers ex-gf is a drug addict who did drugs when she was pregnant with both children. She got out of jail a few weeks before my nephew was born and was in a rehab program. I do not believe she has finished the program and I believe she is using again. My brother has been struggling with a gambling and drug addiction problem. He is a convicted felon. At this time he does not have a job, a place to live or a car. She was just evicted and has no car and no job and her only support is food stamps and public assistance. My niece has spent much the past two years with my mother and myself, both her mother and father have asked us to care for her. She is in currently our custody. She is stressed from all the drama and shuffling around and needs stability. We would like to get at least a temp custody order asap. Where do we begin? We would like both but feel the immediate need is the 2 yr old
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer with your question. I am a licensed attorney and will be happy to try and assist you, but I need a little information first. Also, you should know that due to site limitations, I can't always immediately see all the information you may have typed, so if I ask a redundant question, I apologize in advance. Can you please tell me:

1) What state is this in?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Missouri, it shows now :)

 

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.
Ah, there it is. I hate how it does that sometimes. Well, thank you for your reply just the same.

In any event, to answer your question, what you need to do is file a Petition for Guardianship of the Minor Child(ren). It would likely be easier to list both children on the same petition rather than doing filing each separately.

A very simplified version of the way the process works is this: In the petition, you list the name of the child/children who you seek to become guardian of, who the parents are, and the reason the guardianship is sought. After you have filed the form, you generally have to have the form served upon the parents via a process server (costs about $25). If you don't know where the parents live, you can serve a notice via publication (by publishing the notice of the filing of the petition in a local newspaper). After that, you have to schedule a hearing on the petition, and ensure that the parents get notice of the hearing date and time. At the hearing, a judge will listen to both sides and make a determination. As the moving party (the party seeking to become guardian of the child/children), the burden will be on you to show the court why this is appropriate.

Although the forms you need to file are generally available at the Clerk of Court, I would suggest you at least speak with a local attorney about this matter further before doing anything. Typically, attorneys with 1-5 years experience offer fees that are more reasonable. You may also be able to get a free consultation.

Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.

I hope you found my answer helpful. Please click on the GREEN ACCEPT for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. A BONUS TIP is also appreciated. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated! Also, remember that the correct answer is not necessarily always the one you may want to read, but it is important that I give you the most legally correct answer for your situation based on the facts you have provided, so please be courteous when deciding whether to accept an answer and when leaving feedback.

DISCLAIMER: This response is limited by the information that you have provided to this lawyer. Based on the information you have provided, I have responded based on my knowledge and interpretation of existing laws. It is possible that if the same question was asked to another lawyer, the response could be different. This response is for “Legal Informational” purposes only and should not be confused with “Legal Advice” and nothing in this response should be construed as legal advice for any individual case. Under no circumstances does this response directly or indirectly, establish or intend to establish an Attorney-Client relationship. This response is not and shall not be construed as a solicitation for the legal services of any attorney. If you have already retained a lawyer in connection with this inquiry and this fact is unknown to this lawyer, this response should not be construed as impending and/or interfering with your attorney-client relationship with such attorney.

This information is limited in scope and is confined to the question asked and should not be relied upon to provide a comprehensive picture of any particular situation and you are strongly encouraged to seek counsel for further course of action, if applicable. In other words, this response is not intended nor shall it be construed as providing you with all the information that your legal questions/issues may require. If you do require legal advice and retention/hiring of an attorney, I encourage you to consult an attorney who is actively engaged in the practice of law in the area of law relevant to your legal questions/issues and who is admitted to the bar or lawyer licensing agency in your jurisdiction(s) or the jurisdiction(s) that has jurisdiction over your legal questions/issues. This attorney is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this response, whether from errors or omissions in the content of the response or any other sites that I may provide to you for reference.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
By the time we did this one or both of them would flee with the child/children. I was hoping that since we had physical custody now of the two-yr old that there was some way to get something filed saying they deserted her and she needed immediate protectiion and a guardian, even if it was temporary until a judge could hear the complete story from both parents. We both feel she is in need now of a stable home, not in a few weeks or months.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. Even a temporary guardianship requires a court process similar to the one I described above; a parent is still entitled to notice of the hearing. I've just read through the Missouri statutes on guardianship and I don't see anything that allows for the filing of an emergency guardianship or custody order.

I appreciate the concern, because as you are aware, even if the child/children are living with you now, either parent is legally entitled to take them from you at this point, even though you may feel they are not in a position to adequately care or provide for the child. But, without a formal order appointing you as guardian, you may not be able to do things like secure medical treatment, enroll the child in classes, or apply for benefits that the child may be entitled to.

I'm not a Missouri lawyer, however, and there may be programs available of which I am not aware. I would try to contact a family law attorney immediately to see if anything could be done to get you at least temporary custody.
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10266
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
RobertJDFL and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your time and effort. In the end sadly it is all about money. We will do our best to do what is right for the kids but I am just not sure how to do it financially. It seems our legal system is going to take some research on my end and some time to figure out what to do and the least expensive and quickest way to do it. After all is said and done I will also need money to raise these beautiful children if we can get them both so I can give them the kind of home they deserve. It just saddens me because I could not physically have any children and to see people drop them out and not take care of them :(. My brother has two other daughters with two other women that are older that we have never met. It's just a different world than the one I was raised in. Thank you again. I am not sure how this site works because this is the first time I have used it, but if anyone else has any suggestions, I am open to listen.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for you reply. Unfortunately,so much of our system is based around money, that's true. Even if you were to much of the legal work yourself, there are filing fees and other costs that have to be considered. While the system is ultimately put in place to help us, sometimes I think it doesn't nearly move as fast as we would like it to!

I would check with Legal Aid in your county to see if they can offer you any assistance; also don't rule out at least talking to a private attorney, even if it's just for the initial consultaiton, you may walk away having a much more clear picture of what to do. I would also contact Children and Family Services to see if there is anything they can assist you with at this point and time. Good luck.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
< Last | Next >
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney and Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    6424
    27+ years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6336
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    5987
    I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5773
    JD, 15 years legal experience including family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BrianTMayer/2010-01-06_200119_BM.jpg Brandon M.'s Avatar

    Brandon M.

    Family Law Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3810
    Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TU/TUSA/2012-6-6_55219_test.64x64.png Thoreau (T-USA)'s Avatar

    Thoreau (T-USA)

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2634
    Attorney