My wife and I have been together for eleven years now, and married for almost two. She has a daughter, Tristan from a previous relationship who is now 15 years old. I've been an active part of her life since she was 4 years old. In Jan. 2015 my wife gave custody of her to the child's who recently reconnected with Tristan in 2014. She gave him custody because Tristan was refusing to go to school where we lived at the time. In Nov. of 2015 after numerous times of her running away, Tristan's father kicked her out and sent her a very inappropriate text telling her not to come back. This happened shortly after Tristan had been released from being hospitalized for a failed suicide attempt. She has been staying with us ( My wife, our kids, and myself ) since then. Tristan had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribed medication for them. However when he kicked her out, her father kept her medications and has since moved. He still currently has custody, but I want to know if there's any way possible I could be awarded custody of her? She just went to prom and is doing well with us but without having legal custody of Tristan we are limited and can't provide for all her needs
The easiest way for you/your wife to get custody of your step-daughter is for your wife, the biological mother, to file for custody with a court of competent jurisdiction. Be aware, however, that depending on the current court order that is in effect you may have to file in a specific court or file a Motion to Modify a Custody Order. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, I strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced attorney who regularly handles child custody/visitation issues.
I agree with the previous post. Your wife should file a custody petition immediately - if there is a support order in place that will have to be amended as well. Support does not stop unless the court orders it to be stopped. You can file the petition based upon a material change in circumstances. You should consult with an attorney because the JDR court can be a difficult to navigate. I wish you the best.
If your wife files a Motion to Modify Custody Order, she can modify the current agreement so that - at the very least - she is also allowed to make Tristan's medical decisions (joint legal custody). Based on the current state of Tristan's relationship with her father, your wife may want to ask the court for sole custody (meaning that she will have primary responsibility of Tristan and be the primary decision-maker). I recommend seeking the advice of a local attorney to help you navigate your way through this very sensitive area.
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