How do I obtain custody of my younger sister?

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

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How do I obtain custody of my younger sister?

Recently my younger sister has moved in with me. I live in one state, she lived in another with our mother. My mother sent her to live with me because she didn’t feel she was fit to take care of my sister anymore. She has sent me a notarized letter claiming that I have guardianship but I know that doesn’t give me legal guardianship. I need to find a way to obtain custody quickly, if that’s at all possible, because my sister is enrolled in drivers ed and needs her learners permit. Is there a way to do this soon?

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Family Law, Washington


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are a very wise young person here to ask for advice on making this all "legal" so that you can indeed properly care for your sister.  What you need to do is to obtain at least temporary guardianship of her.  This can be done by seeking help from an attorney  to draw up paperwork to be executed by your mother or you can seek help from an attorney in Washington state to begin anon-parental custody action. It may be filed if the petitioner - hat would be you - alleges that the child is not living with the parents OR neither parent is suitable to look after the child. The laws are codified as RCW 26.10. The court has the option of starting a dependency action if appropriate. In making its determination, the standard used by the courts is always the "best interests of the child."  Seek some help here.  Good luck. 

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