Sidney, NE asked in Family Law for Nebraska

Q: How can I gain rights to my step daughter?

My husbands ex wife is involved with cps in Texas and had her other child removed from her home for meth use and neglect. My husband has residential custody of the child they had together in Nebraska where we currently live. I have been in her life for 4 years and legally married to her dad for over a year. I want to obtain legal rights to her so that if anything should happen to my husband, my step daughter won't be taken from me. Her bio mom has been ordered to go into a 30 day rehab program and still wants to fight for custody of the other child whom doesn't belong to my husband. I do not think that she will willingly sign her rights over to my husbands daughter. We dont have the money to take her to court. I will be looking into a children's advocate as well.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Julie Fowler
Julie Fowler
  • Omaha, NE
  • Licensed in Nebraska

A: The best protection would be to become the child's legal mother by adopting her through a step-parent adoption action. You would need to have the biological mother's parental rights terminated, which is a very high bar and would require a contested court action if the biological mother won't relinquish her rights. If something was to happen to the father, you would be able to pursue custody by a legal guardianship or in loca parentis request but you would also need to overcome the parental preference to obtain custody rights superior to the biological parent. The standard is high but it is not as high as a termination of parental rights. It is possible but would be very difficult to pursue one of these actions without retaining an attorney. Unless you are willing to do a lot of research on your own, you would need to retain an attorney to assist you.

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