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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 31788
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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What would it take to get custody of my nieces 3 children

Customer Question

What would it take to get custody of my nieces 3 children? They have all been living w/me for the past 1/1/2 yrs. I have taken care of the children in all ways for this time. I recently asked my niece to leave after finding out that she is abusing presciption RX again. She has been in rehab at least 3x in 5 years. I can not prove it but she has stolen money from me and my parents. I know that she is buying the rx illegally.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 8 years ago.
The first thing to do is contact the department of child and human services/department of child services, etc. (each state has a different name for this department). Inform them that you've been caring for the children for 1 1/2 years, and that her mother is unfit - drug addict, etc.

They will assign the matter a case worker and investigate the matter. If the investigation confirms your concerns, the department will likely recommend that the children be appointed a guardian, and since you've been doing that unofficially for this long, the department should recommend you.

If you get the recommendation from child services, the judge will award you guardianship.

You can always go around this and file a petition for guardianship with the court, but you'll have to prove why the mother is not fit and why you should be given custody. This could be a challenge, which is why its good to let child services establish the proof for you via its investigations.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
What evidence would it take to prove she is unfit? Would you recommend a private investigator to catch her buying the drugs. Her daughter told us who she got the drugs from last. Since I asked her to leave my house she has bought and done drugs in front of the girls. Would one of her daughters word be enough get custody?
Expert:  Roger replied 8 years ago.
Evidence would be any testimony from you and her children. Also, any evidence of drug use - court can order a drug test.

The good thing about having the department of child services involved is you have a disinterested third party giving recommendations instead of family members with biased opinions.