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In WA can a older sibling petition for temporary custody and seek child support from father

Seattle, WA |

My sister is 17 (just turned) and has been visiting with my mother for the summer. Her father lives in another state and has been caring for my sister for the last two years. He abandoned my sister and mother when my sister was 10. My mothers health is failing so my mother asked for my sistes father to take custody two years ago. It is now coming time for my sister to return to her father and he has proclaimed he does not want her to be returned to him. I think this is awful and I feel sad for my sister. My mother is living with bad health and cannot take care of my sister properly. My question is, can I file for temporary custody of my sister and would I be able to receive some child custody from the father? I am on a limited income but Iwant to do the right thing.

I am 37 years old and have my own business

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Does the father have money to make taking him to court worthwhile?

    In WA, parents who are divorcing or otherwise going through a family law proceeding may be ordered to pay post secondary education support for their children.

    If the sister has the academic ability and desire to go to school and the parents have the financial ability, someone should look into getting a court order for post secondary education support for the sister if there is not already such an order.

    What options are available to your family depend on your specific facts. Your mother or you may want to review the facts and options with an attorney.

  2. you can file a third-party custody petition and try to get custody of your sister.

    unfortunately, you will be in an uphill battle against the father. in a custody battle between 2 parents, custody is supposed to go to the parent based on the child's best interest. however, in a custody battle between a parent and a non-parent, custody goes to the parent unless: 1) the parent is unfit, or 2) placement with the parent would cause actual harm to the child's growth and development.

    also, to prove adequate cause to hear the petition, you must prove: 1) the child is not in the physical custody of either parent, or 2) the parent(s) are unfit.

    a statement from you mother supporting your 3rd party custody petition for your sister would help you tremendously.

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