My niece has been living with me since she was 6 months old, she is now 8 years old. She calls me mommy, I buy all of her clothes, food, medicine etc... Her father has visitation rights but that is all and he is always canceling on him weekends, my sister has sole custody of her and will come by to see her every now and again. How hard would it be for me to get custody of her?
You would have to show that the child is dependent. In other words, you would need to petition the court for custody and prove that the child is without a parent or guardian able to provide for his support, training, or education. It is a high burden to demonstrate that the parents are unfit and that the child is dependent. Speak to a local family law attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine whether they think this is a viable solution. Best of luck!
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You may file a petition for dependency in juvenile court to allege the child is without a proper parent to care for the child. Of course, both parents are entitled to counsel and the right to be heard on your petition. These cases take a long time to work out in juvenile court and it could take months to resolve, so your best option is to hire local counsel to review your allegations and file the necessary pleadings.
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