If I am 16 can I start the process of obtaining custody of a minor or must I wait until I am 18?

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If I am 16 can I start the process of obtaining custody of a minor or must I wait until I am 18?

I am 16 1/2 years old and I am seeking custody of my 9 year old brother. He is temporarily in the state of PA’s custody. I currently live in MD along with the rest of my family. I was wondering if I could start any of the processes needed to gain custody now, or do I have to wait until I am of 18 years of age.

Asked on June 30, 2011 under Family Law, Maryland

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is quite honorable for you to want to gain custody of your 9 year old brother, but understand that you are a minor and usually courts will not allow a minor to gain custody of a very young minor for many reasons, including health, safety and financial support. If you are living in another state with your family, then your family should consider filing for custody like your family probably did with you. It is different if you are emancipated and can show the court you can take care of your brother. Talk to your family and then perhaps collectively talk to your family attorney about the next steps and who should and could file for custody.

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is very noble of you to want to seek custody of your brother.  I wish that you had given a  little bit more information here like why he is in the custody of the state of Pa while you are all in MD.  If he was taken from your parents for any reason it is doubtful that you would gain custody of him if you were living with the  Now, yes, you would have to be 18 to seek custody.  But it is so much more than that.  You have to show that you have the means to take care not only of yourself but of him.  I would seek some guidance in your area on the matter.  Good luck.


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