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What do we need to do to get custody of step-daughter due to biological Mom's hoarding and CPS involvement ?

Everett, WA |

My step-daughter has been temporarily placed in our care (without court involvement) by CPS/DSHS because of unsafe/unhealthy living conditions in her mother's home due to hoarding. We have basically been entrusted with the care of my step-daughter until her mother cleans up her home. Her mother has been placed on a "program" where they will do random checks for cleanliness. We would at the very least like to gain temporary custody of my step-daughter until her mother "graduates" from this program. What evidence do we need to show the court, to rule in our favor? We tried to gain temporary custody several months ago but were rebuked by the court facilitator because in their words "This county NEVER removes children from their mothers unless it is physical abuse." Any advice would help.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You would need rto file a third pqarty custody action alleging that the mother isn unfit. This is one of the most complex and diffcult petitons to prevail previal upon in Wa. state, so please hire counsel.

    Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements


  2. I agree with the other posting; you will need to file a third party custody. However, keep in mind if a petition is filed in juvenile court for a Dependency action, the Superior Court will not have jurisdiction to hear your case. Third party custody cases require proof of custody of the child, and either the parents are unfit or the environment would be detrimental to the child if returned to the parents care. This statute can be confusing if you are not familiar with it. Let me know if can be of assistance. Good Luck!

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