Q: I have a child that’s been living with me for 13 1/2 years. She isn’t my blood or my adopted child but is my daughter.
I want to know how can I keep her with me permanently. She doesn’t like going over to the other persons house. She fights me because she hates it there. I just need help. The adoptive parent has never given me a dime for this child.
A: The only permanent solution to this problem is adoption. That is something you would probably need legal help with, particularly if the legal parents are't cooperative. It is possible to do an adoption even if the legal parents aren't on board, but it might require a trial, which can be expensive if either of the legal parents contests it. You should schedule a consultation with an adoption lawyer. Once you've explained all the details, the lawyer will be able to give you your options and how difficult it will be. Bear in mind that if the parents fight the adoption, even the best lawyer can't tell you precisely how long it will take or what the cost will be. You will always be better off if you can persuade the parents to agree to the adoption before you start the process.
(Another alternative would be guardianship, in which you could get child support ordered, but in a guardianship there's no guarantee of permanence. If either of the parents becomes willing and able to care for the child, he or she can ask the court to return the child to his or her care.)
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