Q: In a divorce can both parties give custody of a minor to a third party? minor does not live with either parent
My god daughter has been living with me for over 2yrs. Her parents are separated (for about the same amount of time) can they sign custody over to me in their divorce? Or does that have to be done separately?
A: It's called a guardianship and does require a Court action. You will do the divorce AND guardianship at the same time. Many Judges prefer two different actions. There is a lot going on in a guardianship. Many guardianships turn into adoption at some time. Parents often let the guardian (you) do all the heavy lifting for several years and once the guardian wants to adopt, things turn very ugly. What you want is a guardianship. It is temporary and sometimes it will break your heart when the parents get off drugs or alcohol and want the child returned. But it often turns into an adoption that is granted since the parents are unable to care for their children.
You will need an attorney to guide you through the guardianship proceedings and even into the adoption. Make sure you keep all the records. Call around. In the central Arkansas area fees will be $3500 to $7500 depending on how much detail you need. Make sure you have your attorney's cell phone and can get help on the weekend. That's when all the trouble happens and you want an attorney available.
Many attorneys will say that they can't do anything on the weekend because the Courts are closed. Don't be fooled. While it is true that the Courts are closed on the weekend, Judges will sign an emergency order when necessary. And even if the Court is unable to sign an order, lawyers can file over the weekend and send the order to the Judge who may be able to enter the order.
Guardianship is wonderful. Expect to adopt the children. There are great attorneys on this list serve. Call a few of them. I have worked with many of them and would send my family to them. Good luck and God Bless you for rescuing children.
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