Hello. My partner and I have been asked by my sister-in-law to take custody of our nephew who is 10 years old. She wants him to stay with us and give us all rights to make decisions about his education, be able to put him on our health insurance, travel, etc. However, we don't know which is the correct way to go. I do want to get an attorney, but I also want to have a clue as to the best way to proceed. For us to put him on medical insurance, etc. I know we need to have a judges signature on the documents. We don't want to seek any child support from the mother as we are definitely capable of taking care of our nephew without support (which is one of the problems she is having in the first place). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
This answer has the caveat that I practice in Florida and not in Oregon. In Florida, the proper procedure is to petition the probate court to be appointed plenary guardian. Plenary just means that you are both the guardian of the person and the property. As a plenary guardian you will be able to make all decisions regarding your nephew without extinguishing your sister in law's parental rights and obligations. If you want to extinguish her rights, an adoption is required. Be warned though, if you adopt, the nephew is legally your child with all the rights and obligations that comes with being a parent. That includes being an heir to your estate and in the event of separation, child support obligations. Guardianship has none of those personal responsibilities.
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