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Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6392
Experience:  20 years of professional experience
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My 16 year old niece has been locked out of her home

Customer Question

My 16 year old niece has been locked out of her home multiple times in Minnesota and left to fend for herself. Her parents are divorced. Her father (my brother) is willing to give me guardianship. I have not yet broached the topic with my former sister-in-law. What are my chances of getting custody and bringing her to California?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

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Answer will follow in the pane below as per above parameters….

1. What is the nature of the custody order that is in place as of the divorce?

2. Who has locked her out, the mother or the father?

3. Is there evidence that both parents are unfit to take care of her?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. Joint legal and joint physical however, she lives with her mom and her brother lives with her dad.
2. Her mother has locked her out more than once at night. She lives with her mother full-time.
3. Her mother has MS and her mental capabilities seem to be declining. I have witnessed both of her parents being emotionally abusive (I know this is hard to prove and I probably can't rest a case on that.)
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

If you are not able to get both parents to agree to give you custody then it will be an uphill battle without some serious proof of the contesting parent's unfitness. So, if you can start documenting evidence of the mother's lockouts and declining mental health condition based on her actions over the next 6 months, you may be able to file a suit for custody. From a practical stand point, however, if the mother wants she can drag the suit out almost till the child turns 18; which is the age of majority in Minnesota.

Minnesota does provide for third party custody rights. In exceptional circumstances, the third party custody statute allows a party, who is not the legal parent of a child, to petition for legal and/or physical custody of a child. TPC cases can be initiated by personal service of a petition or by intervening in an existing custody matter. They usually arise where a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, where the biological parents are unable to provide adequate care for a child, or where a biological or legal parent of a child is deceased. So what you are trying to do is not uncommon.