Can I Obtain Custody of My Niece?

My sister is an addict with a criminal history and has a 10-year old daughter. She has agreed to give me custody of her so I can take care of her. The child’s father lives in a different state and is an addict with a criminal history and has served time. We have not been able to locate him in the past 10 years and he has not paid any child support. Does he have a legal right to claim the child? His mother does call and occasionally sends care packages for the child, but refuses to assist in making her son pay any child support. She is aware he is wanted in the state of Indiana for failure to pay support.

If his parental rights have not been terminated, he has the right to request child custody and object to you receiving custody. If he was never listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate, he may be able to file a paternity action to establish his rights and request custody. It is in your best interest to consult with a local attorney for legal advice pursuant to your state law.