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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
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My mother is mentally unstable, bipolar, and abusing

Customer Question

My mother is mentally unstable, bipolar, and abusing drugs/alcohol. I am concerned for my little sister who is 8 and is being neglected, emotionally abused and missing school to take care of my mother. They are in New Mexico. My mom has told me she can't take care of her anymore and begged me to come and get her, and the next day she says I am trying to kidnap her and ruin her life. Her mental illness/substance abuse have taken over. Her father and my mother are at the beginning of a divorce and he works out of town, in Ohio, and shows no interest in the well being of his daughter and the lack of care she is receiving. He has given me and my wife permission to go and remove her but will not himself. I want to remove her from the home for her safety and bring her to Colorado to live with me and place my mom in a rehab. I am concerned about the legality and my mom saying I have kidnapped her, but My sister cannot stay there anymore. Can I go and get her on the grounds of her physical and emotional safety?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 month ago.

Hello there --

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You cannot take her with you without written permission from your mother or a court order permitting it to happen. Because your mother is the custodial parent at this time, permission from the mostly absent father who does not have physical custody will not be good enough to keep yourself out of trouble in the event that your mother calls the police on you. You probably would not be charged with kidnapping but a case can be made for custodial interference (you are interfering with your mother's custody rights).

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WHile I realize that this will be painful, my suggestion to you is to contact the NM Dept of Children's Services and report the situation as a matter of drug abuse and abuse of the child and neglect of the child and ask them to launch an investigation into the matter. Then be ready to step in as the foster home that your sister can come to while your mother is trying to get her problems straightened out for the sake of your sister. You may have to go through a few rounds of hearings and CO children's services may be sent to investigate your own situation as an appropriate setting to bring your sister to, but all of it will happen and you will be better off for it for following the law in these matters than worrying if you are going to get into trouble if or when your mother decides that she want to call the police on you for taking her daughter from her.

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If there is someway that you can get your mother to agree to a temporary custody change to you and put that in writing and then take the matter to a local family court (either in NM where your sister is now living -- or if you do take her to CO, then you could make the filing in your own home state family court in the county where your sister would then be living). Having a written permission from your mother is powerful but if you turn that into a court order then you are well within the law and you have the upperhand in the situation until or when your mother receives help in her own personal matters.

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Please let me know if you have any additional questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above in the star rating section so I will be given credit for my time assisting you today? I do not receive any credit from Just Answer for helping you unless you press the middle star or the fourth or fifth star to the right of the middle star in the star ratings section above -- I genuinely appreciate it !! THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 month ago.

Hello again --

I note that you viewed my answers above yesterday afternoon. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above in the star rating section so I will be given credit for my time assisting you today? I do not receive any credit from Just Answer for helping you unless you press the middle star or the fourth or fifth star to the right of the middle star in the star ratings section above -- I genuinely appreciate it !! THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!

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MARY