Can I get legal custody of my 15 year old half sister if her father is abusing her and the mother is out of the country?

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Can I get legal custody of my 15 year old half sister if her father is abusing her and the mother is out of the country?

I know things are a little different here as far as family law, so I’d like to put that out there first. I have a half sister who is 15; we share a mother. She is currently living with her father. My mother works overseas and is only on shore a few times a year. He is being very verbally and somewhat physically abusive and we need to get her out of there. I have the means to support her and my wealthy aunt is more than willing to help. What channels should I go through to get custody and do I have a chance? Mom will help but is not intended to have custody.

Asked on August 24, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It's hard to take away full custody from a biological parent absent abuse.... your questions suggests abuse (verbal) and maybe physical abuse.  It may or may not be enough to get his rights terminated, but it should be enough for you to file a suit to intervene.  If the parents are divorced, you would need to file a suit in that lawsuit.  If they were never married and there are no custody papers, then you would have to file a new suit.  Texas actually has a provision in the family which allows siblings formal access to minor siblings.  That would be a good starting point.  If you have an aunt who is will to fund it, then find a good family law attorney to work with.  If the abuse if really bad, contact CPS immediately and get her out of the situation sooner than later-- also let them know that you or your aunt are will to provide her housing while the investigation is pending.


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