I am 20 years old and my sister is 11. I have one daughter and a fiance. My mother is an unfit mother seeing that she is a drug abuser. The father is also unfit to which he is an alcoholic and constantly in and out of jail. They live in georgia and i live in texas. How do i go about getting custody?
There are a couple options that you can rely on in your situation. In Texas, as a sibling ,regardless if there is an existing or pending suit regarding custody between your parents, can file an original petition for access. This will not give you custody to the extent that they will be residing with you, but you will be able to see them under court direction. You will have to show to the court that it is in the best interest of your siblings that you have access to them. This option does not require you to meet the heavy burden of standing set out under Tex. Fam. Code section 102.003 and section 102.004.
Section 102.004 (standing for grandparents or other person) does allow you to file an original suit for conservatorship (ie sole custody, joint managing custody, etc.) however, in addition to the heavy standard under 102.004, you have to meet the standing requirement under 102.003. Under section 102.003 your sibilings had to have resided with you for at least 6 months and 90 days prior to you filing your original suit. More importantly, you had to have provided "actual care, control and possession of the children during the specified time period. Section 102.004 and 102.003 have to be read together as proscribed under statute and subsequent case law. If you areable to meet the standing requirement under 102.003, section 102.004 requires that you show, not necessarily the best interest of the child because those words are not used in section 102.004, but rather that you have "satisfactory proof" that the child's present circumstances would significantly imparit the child's physical health or emotional development or both parents filed the petition on your behalf and/or consented to your suit. This means that if your parent consents to you filing a suit for custody of your siblings than you would meet the burden under 102.004
With that said, you have the option of filing a suit for access under section 102.0045 and 153.551, which does not take into account the standing issues or whether or not a suit regarding custody exists or is pending, or you can try to meet the burden under 102.003 and 102.004 and seek custody of the children. Also, the fact that you are out of state does take into account.
As you may have notice, it is a complicated matter. Please consult a local family law attorney who is familiar with sibling filing suit for custody/access to assist you. Also, New Braunfels and surrounding area, has legal clinics and legal association where great attorneys volunteer their time and service on a free and/or reduced rate.
Also, you can get CPS invovled in Georgia. After a formal investigation, if they find that it is not a safe enviroment for your sister, than they will place your sister with another party, foster family or you. However, you getting custody through CPS may be difficult to the extent that you are out of state and will be placing your sister in a new environment.
Sorry for the many hypotheticals, but more facts would be needed for more precise answer.
Good luck and wish you success.
Min Gyu Kim (Peter)
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