Before I answer the question, here's a link to an article that may be very helpful to you: 4 Key Facts any Parent Should Know about Custody Cases in New Jersey:
You must file a motion with the Family Court in your County seeking third-party custody. A person may apply for custody of a child in New Jersey. You will need to demonstrate that living with you is in the child's best interest.
You should consider meeting with an attorney well-versed in these areas.
Additionally, below are links to articles and information that may assist you with your issue.
Brad M. Micklin, Esq.
The Micklin Law Group
187 Washington Ave., Suite 2F
Nutley, NJ 07110
Please mark as "Helpful" or "Best Answer" if our advice helped you. This information is based upon the limited facts you presented. My advice is based on New Jersey law and may be different if I find that the facts presented are different. Additionally, this answer does not contain any confidential information nor does it create any attorney/client relationship.
If DCPP (formerly DYFS) is involved, you should find out if they plan to start a court case or if they are having a family team meeting. If they do, the best way for you to gain custody may be to cooperate with them. If DCPP believes you are the best relative resource parent, then DCPP will likely give you physical custody. If DCPP is not starting a court case, you can commence a custody case against your niece's mom and dad, but that's complicated. Perhaps you can obtain the mother's consent to your having physical custody, then you can memorialize that with a court order. A family lawyer can help.
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