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How can I get custody of my great nephew that cps "voluntarily placed" with us?

Fort Worth, TX |

CPS (Family Based Services) "voluntarily placed" my great nephew with me 4 months ago. He is 14 months old. The parents are not doing any of the services they agreed to and are both abusing hard drugs, living in a car, refuse to get a job, and haven't even visited the baby in 2 months. Because it was "voluntary" it didn't go through the courts. The baby has totally bonded with my wife and myself and we would like to get some legal conservatorship or temporary custody or even full guardianship. He has 2 sisters, ages 2 and 3, that were "placed" with the Paternal grandmother as well.

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Attorney answers 6


You should talk to a lawyer about seeking managing conservatorship of your great nephew through family court. His parents should be named parties to the suit. I'd also, out of an abundance of caution, name CPS as a party (albeit a "friendly" party) to the suit. You might run this by the CPS caseworker in the off-chance that CPS will help. You never can tell. I'm usually either disappointed or frustrated when dealing with CPS employees.

I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other isues.


Hire an attorney. And do check in with the caseworker and let them know you are thinking this direction. Are you interested in taking all the children? That might help, depending on the facts.

You will need an attorney experienced in CPS cases to help you.

This answer DOES NOT establish an attorney-client relationship. This answer is based on the limited information provided and is not intended to be conclusive advice. There are likely other factors that might influence or change the advice after a more lengthy consultation.


Hire a family lawyer to her you custody.

This answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. Consult my office for a confidential consultation. Leslie Barrows, The Barrows Firm, P.C. looks forward to protecting your rights!


You will need to hire an attorney to file a petition for custody. You may not be in a position to do that yet.


You must have "standing" to intervene in a CPS case or to file your own case for custody of these precious little ones. Standing is the standard (or legal term) that Texas Courts use to determine if a potential party seeking custody has enough contact with the children of the suit to grant them the ability to seek custody. Please look at the Texas Family code, section 102.003 Section (9)

This has to add up to six months of time where you have had the child under your primary care or living in your residence. From what you have said above, it does not look like you are there yet. You guys need to carefully monitor the situation over the next two months, and consult with an attorney so that you are ready to file once you have met the standing requirements to file your own suit. Please get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible to start building your case, so that you can file as soon as you meet this requirement. Children are in infinitely better shape with relatives who love them than in state care. Maintain cooperation with CPS until you have retained counsel and are in the position to file suit on your own. If CPS pursues this case toward terminating the parents involved, you will be in even better shape. But, CPS is an overtaxed agency, and they often make cases more complicated. Any time CPS is involved, you should retain counsel to help you navigate this often complex situation. Best of luck in your search. There are many attorneys on this site in the Fort Worth area that can assist you. Remember that the right to seek custody (standing) does not guarantee the right to win custody. Make sure you look for an experienced attorney in CPS and custody cases to represent your interests and keep these kiddos safe.


Attorney Gell is correct that you need standing to sue about the child. If you want to be named Managing Conservators (have custody but not be the parents of) the child you have to have the child for at least 6 months pursuant to Family Code Section 102.003a(9). If you wanted to terminate the parent's rights and adopt the chlld, Family Code Section 102.005, enables you to do that now.

This does not establish an attorney/client relationship

Dorothea Elaine Laster

Dorothea Elaine Laster


I meant Attorney Bell.

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