What to do if my sister-in-law was recently arrested and I’m concerned about my niece?

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What to do if my sister-in-law was recently arrested and I’m concerned about my niece?

The child’s father, my brother, is deceased and while she is staying with a relative I would be more able to take care of her longterm. I wanted to know if there is a way for the mother to agree to give me temporary guardianship without getting child welfare involved (and also keep cost down as far as legal fees).

Asked on November 25, 2012 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since the mom is the only legal conservator left, she can decide where the child should live and make any appropriate arrangements for the child.  She can agree to let you take the child temporarily while she deals with her legal issues.  She can also agree to give you legal custody.  To make sure this is done correctly, you would want a lawyer to help draft the petition and the agreed order-- but if mom agreed to everything, the price will be significantly less than a contested custody suit.  The most non-threatening approach is to offer temporary help and then if things don't improve, ask her if she would agree to long-term custody via the agree custody orders.

If her legal situation continues to go down hill and she starts making poor decisions for the child, then you may have to call child welfare to insure the safety of the child. 


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