Thank you for your follow-up, Matthew. To answer directly:
Are there any prior or current cases that I can reference to learn more about the kinship and the out come of those cases?
To be honest with you, the best cases are the ones cited in the article--the article appears to be from 2013, and has the newest and most current case law up to date.
Does it or would you suggest that I obtain an attorney to move forward with the filing or is it something I can do myself.
You can do this on your own. There is no inherent obligation or need for counsel but if you are expecting an unsympathetic judge, retain counsel.
I have already spoken with a former DYFS worker and she is willing "to go to bat for me" and help with this.
Please be careful. While this is a very good thing, DYFS is one of those entities that quite rightfully gets an unwelcome rap--their interest is in the child but they may turn on you so while it is potent tool for you, it is a mercurial ally at best.
I am asking only because, I do not want to go file paper work on my own and miss something that would be a potential "loop hole" for the state to come back and deny my request.
Won't happen. Family courts are generally 'pro se' litigant friendly, or at least tolerant of errors. Judges tend to be extremely permissive and would not base their decisions on a loop hole.
Also, my last question and I thank you for taking your time tonight to help me.
With the minor being 16, does he have any right it requesting/petitioning the court as to where he would like to live? If he approaches it in a mature and justified manner.
Yes, he does. BUt one thing you have to keep in mind is that the courts tend to ask based on parents not guardians. The judge can still interview him based on your claimed bond, and whether he sees you as a positive influence. If the child answers properly, the courts can take that into serious consideration, but the courts can still choose to ignore his wishes.