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Can I file for child custody on my own?

Southaven, MS |

I have physical custody of a 22 month old. His mother is a runaway and a minor. His grandmother has left the state and left the child in my and my wife's custody. We need to get some form of legal custody for medical care and to enroll him in school when time comes. I also would like to prevent the mother from returning later in life and try to gain custody.

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Attorney answers 3


Looks like you will need to institute guardianship proceedings unless you are a biological parent, which is unclear from your post. This is probably not something you want to do on your own as there could be significant paperwork involved, court action, and further documentation requirements after guardianship is placed with you.

This should not be considered legal advice, but rather simple information. You should consult a lawyer to review your unique situation. No client-lawyer relationship exists until you sign something indicating there is.



The child in question is my wife's nephew. I am a 42 year old man i would not be with a minor. I would like to get guardianship, but right now i need some type of custody, not just anybody can take a child in for health care.

Ryan Douglas Caldwell

Ryan Douglas Caldwell


Actually this is a guardianship issue because custody is an issue between biological parents. You want to be the legal temporary guardian so that the state can give some aid and benefits. Guardianship can always be re-visited, unless the state terminates their parenting rights, if the biological parents can evidence that they have cleaned up their act.


I don't know that I would call what you have physical custody, it sounds more like temporary possession. I'm assuming you are not the father since you say you are married and the mother is a minor. In fact, it sounds like you are not biologically related to this child at all. That's not a small problem, it's a huge one. You can try this on your own if you like. I would say your chances of success would be very slim. You also run the risk of the Department of Human Services getting involved in this case. Additionally, a Guardian ad Litem will need to be appointed, so you will be paying for at least one lawyer anway. As far as the mother returning, custody of child is not permanent and can be revisited upon showing a material change in circumstances.

This reply is provided for information purposes only and does not represent legal advice or an attorney-client relationship.


You can file for custody, but you'll need the assistance of counsel. It appears you have a good understanding of the situation. The judge's foremost concern will be the best interest the child.

The state of Mississippi does not certify lawyers in any specific category of law and the decision to hire an attorney should be taken only after careful consideration. Jeff Padgett's profile and any answers to questions given is strictly for the purpose of advertising his services.

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