Question: I live in League City Texas. My brother who was on SSI disability died and his 15 yr old son now lives with me because his mother can't take care of him (lives in a motel in another city, has no job, etc.). I signed an affidavit of residency for my nephew so I could enroll him in our neighborhood highschool, and am now listed at the HS as his guardian. I also filed an application with Social Security to become his payee and applied for Medicaid for him and was approved. He has legal problems (truancy, drug related and theft charges) from before his father died and a parent/guardian must be present in court with him. His court appointed lawyer told me the Judge would not allow me to stand in court as his guardian even though he is living with me because I don't have legal custody of him. She re-set the court date and told me to hire her (for several thousand dollars) to file a suit for custody of him with the court before his next court date. If I do this, he will no longer qualify for court appointed attorney or medicaid, and I will be legally and financially responsible for him. I want to do the right thing, but I'm not sure I can handle him. Do I have any options short of custody? Response: Yes, you do.
I am not sure why the Attorney wants you to file for custody instead of filing for Guardianship. You need to file Petition for Guardianship and conservatorship of his estate because his mother is unable to take care of him. It is my understanding that approval of Guardianship and Conservatorship Petition would not make you financially responsible for him. You would still apply for public assistance that you think that he would be eligible for. So, your option is to file for Guardianship of his person and Conservatorship of his estate so that you would have control over his medical and financial matters. The Petition for Guardianship and Conservatorship must be filed in the District Court in the County where he resides. The forms for filing the petition are available at the Courthouse in the Clerk's office. The forms are self-explanatory. However, if you need assistance completing the forms, ask the Staff.
Use the link below to find the proper District Court:
You may also retain the services of a local family law attorney to file the papers for you. You can use the following sites to find local attorneys:
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