If my 20 month old niece has been staying with me and her uncle for the last 2 months, how can we get custody of her?

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If my 20 month old niece has been staying with me and her uncle for the last 2 months, how can we get custody of her?

The baby was born addicted to methadone, and her mother had gone to rehab for a heroin addiction. She also has a record of prostitution charges. The mother has relapsed, so I have been taking care of her for the last 2 months. Now, her mother is choosing not to go to rehab to get help and is still using heroin. She is also with a man (not the baby’s father) who she claims is abusive but she does not wish to leave him either. She is taking to steps toward creating a safe environment for her daughter. Is there any way we can go for custody of the baby, especially since she has been staying with us?

Asked on November 16, 2012 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You sound like a very caring family, not only for your niece but for her Mother as well.  And I think that you recognize the issues well on all sides.  The court will make a custody determination "in the best interest of the child."   What you need to do is to get ana ttorney to bring a proceeding for temporary custody and guardianship.  It sounds as if you will have a decent chance of obtaining same.  Good luck.


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