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When a sibling wants custody

There are a variety of reasons children might find themselves involved in a custody battle. One of these might be when an older sibling wants custody of a younger one. In California, there are particular rules related to this, and for the process to be successful, the adult sibling should be familiar with these laws and be prepared for the process.

For people to get custody of a younger sibling, they must be over the age of 18 or an emancipated minor, the child must be considered to be in harm’s way, and the adult sibling can be financially, physically and emotionally responsible for the younger sibling. This is important, as courts are reluctant to take physical custody away from the parents unless it can be proven that the child might be at risk of harm with them.

Before considering a court battle, it is recommended that the older sibling ask the parents or guardian for custody. In some cases, the parents might agree to this if they are aware that they themselves cannot provide the best care for the child. If this is not possible, then the sibling seeking custody must file an application for custody where the child and parent or guardian live. If the child is in the foster system, the older sibling can apply to become the foster parent, since courts usually prefer to place children with family members.

The process for filing for custody can be complicated. People who are in this position might want to have the assistance of a family law attorney when doing so.