I am married to an abusive man. He beats his mother that has dementia. He threatens that if I tell he'll take the kids. They want to be with me.
Unfortunately, you would not be eligible for joint custody of step children. I assume that the kids mother is still alive in which case she can request sole custody to get them out of the situation. You may be able to seek a guardianship but its highly unlikely. You need to contact the authorities on the beating of his mother, that is criminal and should not occur. This situation is a difficult one for step parents, you get an emotional bond with the children and in the case of a divorce, there is no real parental rights you can seek.
You can't. By statute you can potentially get visitation. Contact the mother or CPS if there is a danger to the children.
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If the biological mother of the children is not in the picture, then you can Petition for a step parent adoption. Your husband must agree to this, and you must go through probate court process to make this happen. If you get divorced after the adoption is final, then you would be able to request custody or whatever you believe is in the children's best interests. As for your mother-in-law, please call adult protective services or the police. If you must, you can make do this anonymously.
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