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My friends granddaughter ran away from a bad situation with…

Customer Question
My friends granddaughter ran...

My friends granddaughter ran away from a bad situation with her mother. Her mother is now loosing the rest of her children and is being investigated. Her mother filed a runaway report prior to the Investigation. Does the 16 year old have the right to simply say... I am going to live with my grandma now?

Lawyer's Assistant: In what state did this occur?

Missouri

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

No. She is planning to

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not that I can think of

Submitted: 1 month ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/11/2018
Criminal Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 10,429
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OK
Criminal Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Thank you for your patience on this. The answer to your question as to whether the child can run away, the answer is now. The reason is because the mother still has rights to the child; however, I think it is important your friend strongly consider getting guardianship through the courts. Below is the following you could tell her.

It's not out of the ordinary for adults to try to arrange for custody of children. To do this, you are going to need to get guardianship over the child. If you are looking to have legal rights over the child, then you must go through your state's court system. It typically starts with filing a petition, which is just a request through the courts to remove the rights of at least one of the parents in favor of you. Once you fill out the petition, you should make three copies: one to you, one for the court, and one to the other parties (typically the parents). It is critical to understand that the courts are bound to look at what is in the best interests of the child above all else. This means they will look into who and how the child’s health, education, welfare, and safety are best going to be served. Sometimes, this can be inconvenient for the petitioner, but because the kids cannot protect themselves, the court takes it upon itself to protect them. The bright side is that if you understand this in advance, then you will have an edge when you are dealing with the other side because you’ll be seeing this process through the court’s eyes.

Regardless, once you have filed the documents, someone who is over 18 and not a party to the case will serve the document on the other party. They will have a chance to respond to the petition and they will serve you as well. The court will likely set a date where they will either order mediation or they will make a decision at that time. If you can’t agree at mediation or if the court decides it needs more info, then it is likely you would go to a trial where you can put on witnesses, provide your own testimony, and let the judge make a ruling after that. Those are less likely scenarios, but they come up on occasion.

The order is enforceable from the moment it is entered and if a party fails to abide by the order, then they are going to be held in contempt of court.

How else can I help you today?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
We have been told by Division of Family services that they will not send the 16 year old back to her mother when she is found due to the circumstances there. The father is unknown. Her grandmother is the next closest relative. To Clarify, so I understand. Are you saying the 16 year old does not have the right to go live with the grandmother without the "States permission"?
Criminal Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I see and thank you for clarifying. So, if DFS said that it was okay for her to stay and if grandma is the next closest relative, then the short-term stay for the child is going to be perfectly fine. The problem is that it's short term. This means that if grandma wants to keep her, she'll have to file for guardianship. The state might file a petition to remove mom's rights anyway, but if they don't, grandma will have to step in. How else can I help you today?

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