Q: What steps will be necessary to gain custody of my nephews?
My brother has sole custody of my 4year old twin nephews. He has had a tumultuous life, between the drug binges and the incarceration. The only reason he has custody is because of my parents. Recently he has been evicted from his place and my parents believe he is using again. They have been granted temporary guardianship of the boys, but my husband and I both feel that they will benefit from a stable home with us. We have asked my brother for custody of my nephews, with stipulations that allow for unlimited visitation and, upon a mature age of the boys, the ability for them to choose where they would like to live.
He said no, but we still believe the boys would be better suited with us, especially if my brother is using again and on his way to being incarcerated again. What steps do we have to take in order to increase our chances of custody? What circumstances does my brother have to be in in order for the courts to make decision for him?
A: In order for you to be considered you must first file a petition for guardianship. Yours will be a competing petition with your parents who have already been granted temporary guardianship. You and your parents should have a meeting to determine which home provides the best environment for your nephews. If you and your parents cannot resolve who will proceed with their petition, the court may set the matter for trial. Therefore, it would be imperative to work out an agreement with your parents prior to any hearing. Your brother can nominate a guardian for his sons. A nominated guardian carries significant weight with the court. If the minors are over 12, they may be asked their opinion as to which relative they would prefer.
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