Thank you. The tricky part here is - do you have standing, since you are a third-party and not immediate parents, and the parents are available? Generally, No. Except, the court may grant custody to a third-party as the result of finding of abuse and neglect by the child's parents or current guardian. Abuse and neglect proceedings are generally initiated by the Department of Children Youth and Families, but they can be initiated by the third-party seeking custody, but it can be initiated by you as well. Since the child has lived with you for so long, you may file a petition in your family court to keep the child and become its guardians. The Court would decide based 'on the best interest of the child
(1) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his custody;
(2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian;
(3) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
(4) the child’s adjustment to his home, school and community; and
(5) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved. Also, if the child is 14 years or older, the court will consider his or her wishes.
(New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-4-9, 40-4-9.1)
So you'd have to file in court for custody, and also get temporary orders giving it to you while the matter is pending. Please let me know if you need help finding an attorney.
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