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Ellen, Lawyer, Consultant
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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My question is regaurding a child custody issue with a family

Resolved Question:

My question is regaurding a child custody issue with a family member. The situation is this. My brother has two children young girls who's mother was recently murdered by their stepfather. The girls went to my brother who has been unable to give them the proper care they need due to loss of job, alcoholism, drug use and who knows what else. The oldest is staying with my wife and I in Virginia where we love due to me being in the
US Navy. The problem is he lets the oldest do anything she wants and the youngest is staying with her grandparents (my parents). We want to know how much if any right do we have to keep the kids with us in order to look out for them properly. Also, what steps are necesarry to be taken to receive some sort of custody or legal gaurdianship.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ellen replied 5 years ago.

WebLaw :

*Due to rules of your state bar or mine, nothing herein is intended as legal advice, only intended as general information to better help yourself.*

WebLaw :

So sorry to hear of this dilemma. If my answer is not clear to you, please ask me for clarification by using the reply button.

WebLaw :

You may petition the court for third-party custody of your nieces. Based upon the fact that your brother has allow the children to stay with you and your parents and is unable to care for them, the court will likely grant you custody

WebLaw :

Here is how it works.

The law presumes that it is in the best interest of a child for that child to be with a parent rather than with a guardian or third-party custodian-- even if that 3rd party is an uncle, grandparent or other relative.This presumption may be rebutted by the totality of the evidence presented. If the court finds that the presumption in favor of the parent has been rebutted, you will also need to demonstrate a strong emotional bond with the child, in addition to an ability to provide for the child emotionally and physically.

I suggest that you retain local legal counsel to petition the court on your behalf

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