1. ThePrismaticDragon

    ThePrismaticDragon New Member

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    Child Custody Questions

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ThePrismaticDragon, Aug 3, 2020.

    Here's the question: If a child's mother dies, the father AWOL, and a semi-close relative exists, can a Third Party Family Friend attempt to gain Guardianship?

    Here's some background:

    The scenario is this: The Main Character (MC) is friends with the Child Character and the Child's Mother. MC has no biological relation to the Family. The Child's Father left/abandoned his wife and child seven years prior. His location is unknown, and that is unlikely to be changed unless necessary. In the story, the Mother is killed in a car accident. The Child survives, and he is the one to contact MC to ask for help with the situation.

    The Child has a paternal Uncle, who lives in a different country. This Uncle is the only other family the Child has (grandparents are deceased.) The Child has never met this Uncle, as he had left the country prior to the birth. This Uncle does not want to have custody of the Child. This is mostly out of fear, a personal belief that his past history makes him unfit, and huge personal issues occurring in his own life.

    MC does not initially volunteer for custody, but after the Uncle backs down, MC does not want the Child to go into the Foster System. MC does not think that the Child would do well in the system, and personally believes that doing so is against the Child's best interest. MC is a single, middle-aged man with no experience with raising children. But he does care for the Child, and his arc in the story is to step into that role of Fatherhood.


    Important Details to Note:
    • MC is there for the child the moment the Child calls him. He is very interested in the Child’s welfare.
    • The Child sustained injuries as he was also involved with the car accident and is residing in the hospital.
    • The story takes place in Kansas, US. Uncle lives in Japan.
    • MC is a sort of celebrity, and has a well-known reputation for being a dramatic Party Boy in the past. This story is a sequel and his character is developing away from this.
    • The Child is 12 years old.
    • Mother did not have a will, nor any close friends of her own (She had a social phobia that crippled her quite a bit.)

    I also have several more in-depth questions about the above scenario, about what would most likely to occur.

    • Does MC have any chance of requesting custody and actually obtaining it? If so, what are his chances?
    • What things are in play both in MC’s favor and to his detriment, as far as CPS/Court is concerned?
    • Does the existence of the Uncle play a significant role in the first question? For example, if he were to be cut from the story, would MC be any more or less likely to obtain guardianship?
    • Would the Uncle’s reasons for not wanting/being unable to take responsibility for the Child be enough to excuse him? Or would he just be seen as a selfish, uncaring git (both in the eyes of CPS and/or the Audience?)
    • Does the situation with the MIA Father complicate things? Would he be attempted to be contacted to take custody, or does his abandonment refute his potential rights?
    • Does what the Child want have any potential bearing on who becomes his guardian? Basic research has suggested that there is no set age in Kansas for when a child has a say in custody disputes.
    • Who is able to make significant medical decisions for the Child in the midst of all of this?
     
  2. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Wow. These are complicated legal questions. You MIGHT get lucky on the forum and find somebody who actually has direct experience of this sort of thing (involving Kansas and Japan) but my advice would be to go directly to a source you can depend on to give you the correct information.

    Maybe try getting access to somebody on a Children's Panel or some sort of Citizens Help organisation—in Kansas—that would be helping to facilitate such a scenario in real life? Or, if you have access to it, actual legal advice. (Child custody laws in Kansas, etc.) This can come from an online source—most places have these kinds of regulations listed online these days—but you need to be specific in your search.

    Once you know all the likely outcomes, you can build your story around them. But this information WILL be specific to Kansas, so what might work elsewhere won't necessarily work for your story.

    Good luck! :)
     
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  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Where does this occur? In the US laws differ by state.
     
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  4. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    This sort of thing is done, so yes, it's possible, but @jannert is right. You'd need to speak to a custody lawyer or social worker, preferably in Kansas, if you want the specifics of the process. If the MC is a celebrity, I assume he has money. A good custody lawyer can make this sort of thing happen easily, I think.

    The uncle in Japan is a non-issue, by the way. If he doesn't want the kid, that's the end of his involvement. Unless of course he changes his mind later, in which case he could potentially cause big problems if there hasn't already been an official adoption. Courts do like to keep kids with blood family, often regardless of what's best for the child. I've seen this happen where a kid went to the grandparents instead of the non-adoptive stepdad. It happens a lot, I think. Again, a good lawyer would probably come in handy.
     
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  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    What city in Kansas? Topeka, Kansas City, Kansas, one of the Johnson County enclaves (lotta rich people over there), Wichita? You might start by contacting child welfare agencies in your location of choice. Don't know if it varies by county, but it might.
     
  6. df4205

    df4205 New Member

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    While I can’t answer this question from a legal standpoint, I can offer a piece of “this is a pet peeve of mine.”

    I loathe when, on a show or movie, the non-related adult just magically gets the child with no muss or fuss. I think a standout example was Angels in the Outfield where the MC just decides to adopt the two kids and that’s that. While this non-related person does have the capacity to apply for custody (or guardianship) there probably needs to be more to it than “Okay, take the kid!”

    It is my understanding that there is an application process, an approval process, and endless amounts of paperwork. Ever bought a house? You know how much paperwork and turmoil is involved? Now, imagine how much goes into getting custody of entire human being. In all likelihood, some sort of advocate or agent is going to be assigned to the minor. You can probably expect wellness checks and home inspections to pop up once in a while. In instances like that, the minor gets a beacon attached to them. Got a B minus on the test? Better schedule a home visit to see what the problem is!

    Having your character be a celebrity does open the door to hand-waving away the minutia of the adoption process. I pulled a similar trick with an orphan, and had one of the adoptive parents be the local sheriff, so the weight of his position helped fast-track everything and kept the story from getting bogged down with irrelevancies.

    At the very least, I would advise not forgetting the problematic situation. Just because someone gets custody does not mean they’re free and clear for all eternity. It’s not like adopting a cat from a stranger, lol. Someone, somewhere is going to want to keep up with the minor’s well-being (particularly if they were injured).

    Good luck with your writing :)
     
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