Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
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Hello,I'm very sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. You and your husband would need to seek guardianship of the 13 year old. In order to do so, person(s) wishing to be appointed the child's guardian file a Petition and an Application with the district court in the county where the child lives, and the court, after a hearing at which the child's best interests are considered, appoints a guardian.You can see a sample (blank) petition here. This is not an easy thing to do, because the father has rights to the child, and the courts recognize the rights of parents to raise their children. To gain custody rights, a non-parent must show that the parent is unfit, which is often difficult to do. The non-parent must prove one of the following: that the parent is unsuitable and harmful to the child; has signed an agreement to surrender custody; OR that the parent is otherwise unqualified to claim custody. Although the child may not wish to live with dad, he is a minor and does not get to make the decision. His wishes may be taken into consideration, should the court find him mature enough to render an opinion, but they will still act in what they feel is his best interest.I would not attempt to represent yourselves in such a matter. If you are interested in pursuing it, I strongly recommend speaking with a family law attorney that specializes in this area.
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