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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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I live in PA with my husband and son. my brother and his

Customer Question

I live in PA with my husband and son. my brother and his kids live in MA. my nephew was removed from brothers care through the state and sent to live with family friend in MA. nephew has asked to come live with us. what are our rights in this case? can I just take him to begin living here?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. I specialize in family law and appeals, and I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, employment and contract law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site. Oh, at the end of this session, I will ask you to please rate me as that’s the only way I get credit for helping you today. Thanks! Please note: I want to help you but I may need some additional information from you.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
You can be named guardian of a child if the child’s parents are unable or unavailable to care for him. If the parents do not agree to the guardianship, you can only become guardian if the court decides that the parents are unfit to care for the child. This is under Mass law because obviously the case is in Mass. You cannot just take the child. You will have to intervene in either neglect or termination proceedings, whatever is going on in Mass, or you might be able to have someone talk to Dept of Children and Families (DCF) in Mass. You're going to need a lawyer and they will do a background check.The law is that just because someone is family that does not give them superior rights over someone who would be a good guardian, such as a friend. However, if your nephew is old enough -- anywhere from 10 or 12 and older -- he may ask DCF and the courts to reside with you.I don't know how old the child is but I will presume he's under 14?You must be at least 18 years old to be a guardian and live in the United States. The court will check your criminal record and make sure you do not have a record of child abuse or neglect. The judge will need to decide that you are able to be a guardian and that your appointment will be in the best interest of the child. He or she will appoint a person chosen by a child over 14 years old unless that would not be in the best interest of the child. The best interests of the child is going to control. If your nephew is older than 14, please let me know. In any event, you will need a Mass. family lawyer to help you with this. You can fight for this but occasionally you might have to go to Mass. The Mass lawyer will advise you of that. The first thing to do is to find a family lawyer in the county where the court is , and let the family lawyer know about the case and that you want to take guardianship of your nephew. That will get the ball rolling.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
If you would like, I can send you a list of family lawyers in the area where the child is. I cannot recommend any specific attorneys to you but I can send you a list and explain what to look for on the list. This way, you'll know not to pick an attorney who has a red mark of misconduct next to his or her name. If you are interested, please let me know what town or city the child is near, generally a larger town, so that there will be enough family lawyers to choose from. This is at no extra charge to you. I do this for people who ask me questions so that I can point people in the right direction.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
In some states, and Mass may allow this, a judge will want to know what the child wants, so even if he's not 14, a judge could listen to the child but does not have to listen to the child. This is why you would need an attorney because to take guardianship over the friend, you would need to show that it's in the child's best interests for you to take guardianship, that you will be loving and support the child and be a surrogate parent to him. Does this answer your question? I am more than happy to answer additional questions based on this one if you want. Let me know if you want names of family lawyers in that area -- once I know what the area is.I hope this helps and clarifies. If you could, I'd appreciate it if you can rate me when finished. If you need additional information please let me know. Best of luck to you! Please accept my answer, rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you and with your question. I work hard to give you a thorough and honest answer. I thank you in advance for rating me. Please let me know if there is more that I can do to answer your question and if you need more information. If not, I thank you for your rating. I can’t get credit for answering your question without your fair and honest rating. Thank you, ***** ***** you for allowing me to help you today.Kindly rate positively so I receive credit for assisting you.(no additional charges are incurred).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am 45 years old and my husband is 47. my nephew will be 15 this coming Sunday (May 31). Does that make a difference?
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for that. It will indeed help. A judge will likely listen to him because of his age. That should help immensely. It's not a guarantee -- you and your husband have to pass a background check and the judge has to be convinced that move to PA from MA is not going to be unsettling for the child. If the judge thinks this is a good idea and the child wants it, there is a good chance it can happen but you'll need legal assistance for this, especially since you're out of state. Even if you were in Mass, you'd still need legal help. It's not easy to get guardianship as a non-parent but it's done all the time under the right circumstances. You may indeed have the right circumstances, and your lawyer would have to prove that to the court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
from what his MA case worker has told me this will not be going through the courts. it's a matter of her filing his papers and sending them to PA. I just want this done ASAP so he won't have to start school and transfer mid semester. we've known about this since February
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
That's actually great news too. They're going to listen to him because of his age and apparently do a transfer of guardianship to you. I'd still recommend legal help unless you can deal directly with the MA case worker and work it out with her. That will bypass the need for a lawyer. At some point you will need an order of guardianship or custody, depending on the state (either Mass or PA) but if Mass passes the buck to PA, then you will want to get a custody order in PA so you can make decisions that concern him.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
The caseworker will do what she needs to do, you can ask her to expedite it so he can start school in Sept in PA. If you run into any legal difficulty, then you can get a lawyer and at some point get one in PA to gain custody unless there is an order from Mass granting you guardianship. This comes down to a "conflict of Laws" between states. Right now, Mass law governs but if they're going to transfer him to PA, then PA law will likelytake over from there. Conflict of laws is one of the more difficult aspects of family law because lawyers and judges all decide which state is the child's "Home state" and which state should have jurisdiction. So this may be transferred to PA, and if all you have to do in Mass is work with the caseworker, that is excellent news, and then you won't need a Mass lawyer. But make sure to work with the caseworker, if they want a background check allow that, etc. Sounds like this is headed in the right direction! Just make sure you have either guardianship or custody so you can make decisions for him, including the right to enroll him in school, take him to the dr, etc.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
He's lucky to have you in his life. I hope this goes smoothly and I wish you all the best of luck.I thank you in advance for rating me. Good luck to all!
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.
Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you. Thanks!Customer

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