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How do you get a child emancipated from his parents and what legal rights do i have to fight for his custody?

Jacksonville Beach, FL |

My nephew who turns 17 in less than a month was kicked out of his house and told not to go to any family members houses. He came to me anyway and stayed with me for 4 days and nights. His mother made no contact with him during this time and after his father initially called and told us not to let him in, once he knew my nephew was with me he called everyday to verify he was still here. His mother cleared out his bank account on the 4th day which made it where he had no means to buy lunch at school or anything. And yes he was attending school everyday. On the 5th day they took him from school, brought him to my home to get his stuff, all against his will. He saw my car pull up behind his mothers and he jumped into my car where his mother and father proceeded to lie to me and him. He did not want to go, he was upset and crying as was i, only with a serious threat of violence from his father did he finally exit my vehicle. They took him to his fathers where they told him he was going to be staying and then the next morning his mother went and picked him up and told him he was being taken to his paternal grandparents home, more than 300 miles away to live, permanently. This home he has been taken to is where his father was raised. Where his father was a drug dealer most of his teenage life, and where there was no rules or supervision given to him and now he is letting them take care of my nephew which is absurd!!! I am one of 4 siblings, we along with my parents all live within 3 miles of each other. I am just trying to figure out if i have any legal footing to try to obtain custody or help him get emancipated. He is a good kid who does not abuse drugs or alcohol. He lived with an overbearing, sometimes physically abusive stepfather and a mother who is an alcoholic and is mentally unstable most of the time. We have been told we will not be able to talk to him for a few months, not even be able to know if he is okay or not. This is not acceptable!!! How can parents who abandon and then kidnap their child be the ones to make decisions for his life. Someone needs to stand up for Tyler and that is what i am doing. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Attorney answers 1


My thoughts go out to that kid. Hope he turns 18 soon enough, become an adult young man and leaves all that trouble behind.

In Florida, a minor child can file a petition with the court to be emancipated. However, he must have an attorney appointed by the court called a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate the situation and let the court know, by an oral and/or written report, whether or not this child can make it on his own if he was to be emancipated by the Court. For instance, if he has a job which will support him, a driver's license, .a bank account, a car or other form of transportation. That is, all of the basic things you and I as adults would need to survive. If the Court is convinced, the Judge could enter an order emancipating him before age 18. If both parents cooperate and do not fight his case it will be even better.

On the other hand, if the emancipation does not work (or otherwise) anybody who has the physical custody of the boy can ask BOTH parents through the court system, by suing both parents, for a child support amount to be paid to the party who has the child physically to be able to support him. So, this could be another possible option.

The third option (which could probably be left for last) would be to contact the Florida Department of Children and Family Services regarding the situation. Sometimes, if their investigators find it so, they can terminate the parents' parental rights over the child and turn over the child's custody to a third party (as a grandmother, an uncle, etc.). But this option should be left for last because the Department may be a bit unpredictable at times due to the high volume of work they currently have and small amount of resources compared to the job the Department must perform.

Hope the answer helped.

Alejandro R. Lopez, Esq.
Law Office of Alejandro R. Lopez, P.A.,
2996 Edgewater Drive,
Orlando, Fla. 32804
Ph.: (407) 649-1404
Fax: (407) 649-9890
Electronic mail:
Practice areas:
Domestic relations,
Personal injury,
Immigration, and
Probate law

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