How do I go about getting custody of my 8 year old niece?

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How do I go about getting custody of my 8 year old niece?

I am 21 years old stable in my own home with my fiancé. I have been raising my niece for the past 3 years and I need to get custody now. Her father and mother have had nothing to do with her for the past 3 years and I was wondering if I have a good chance of getting custody? My brother is her father and he is not on her birth certificate, so do we have to fight him for custody or just her mother? And her mother has had a child taken from her before.

Asked on November 18, 2012 under Family Law, Mississippi

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You sound like a very loving and wonderful person.  But you need to speak with an attorney in your area as soon as you can.  Has parentage been established with your brother and the courts?  Or has there been some kind of acknowledgement of paternity in the form of an affidavit?  Parents have the first right and obligation to care for their children.  That right can be taken away if the court finds that it is in "the best interest of the child."  The parents can voluntarily grant you guardianship in some states but I think that going to court and having it granted in light of the situation is your best bet.  You can seek to have their rights terminated if the facts support that as well.  And then adopt the child.  It is too complicated for this forum so please, get help locally.  Good luck.


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