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Can a 16 year old sign a temporary custody letter for her child to me? I am not biologically related.

Baltimore, MD |

I have had my god child for over a month now. His mother has agreed to leave him with me because he is safer here. She is 16 and I am not biologically related to her. From the day he was born I have financially taken care of him and since he has been with me I have taken full financial and physical care of him. I want to talk to her about giving me temporary custody as long as necessary so that I am able to take and make medical appointments, etc. Because she is a minor, can she legally sign a contract giving me temporary custody or would I have to go through the grand mother? Also, the grandmother receives state assistance for both of them but does not take care of either one of them. I don't want anything from either of them, just want my god son to be safe and cared for properly.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. A letter from the 16 year old mother to you, assigning custody, both legal and physical to you, is better than nothing. However, if you really want to do this the right way, then ask the 16 year old mother to file for custody at court, for the purpose of giving custody to you on whatever terms are agreeable to you both. Better yet, consult with an attorney to get the legal advice you clearly need. Where is the father, and what are his wishes on these matters?

    Office: (410) 381-1656. This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client Relationship with you because you have not yet retained me, and because you have not provided me with a COMPLETE set of all the FACTS in your legal situation. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. This answer is provided as GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and to assist you in beginning your own research or in finding an attorney to represent you. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California. If you want me to provide legal advice, then you must call for a Consultation. If you would like me to represent you, then a Retainer and a fully signed and dated Legal Services Agreement (a contract) will be required. Office: (410) 381-1656. David Mahood, Esq.


  2. If nobody minds, then fine but whether mom is a minor or an adult, the legal effect of a letter without dad being part of this is problematical at best. You should get legal guardianship and if everyone else won't sign off, then be prepared to have issues. I don't know that this letter will allow you access to doctors, etc. You will probably need to bring mom with you to appts.
    Short answer, she cannot legally sign over custody.

    This is not to be considered legal advise and no attorney client has been established.


  3. I agree with my colleagues although I'd add that the biological father would have to consent to you having custody also.

    This rarely happens because one or both parents worry that you will ask them to pay child support. If you pursue any State assistance you will be REQUIRED to pursue child support. Still there may be a way to work this out with both parents are not able to work to due their age.

    If one or both parents contest your request for custody then you have a contested third party custody case and that is very difficult to win.

    It is always better to work with the parents to come to an agreement that is best for the child. You would benefit from speaking with an experienced custody lawyer.

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