Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
“I am eighteen years old, work part-time at Kroger and am in college full-time. Both of my soon-to-be 12-year old sister’s parents are deceased, and we share the same mother who is deceased. She lives with her grandmother and is very unhappy there. I live with my adoptive parents and she use to live with us but her grandmother won custody about 4 years ago because my adoptive mother wasn’t a blood relative, and I have been waiting until I turn eighteen to get my sister back with me. What are my rights as her older sister?”
Since there is a standing court order placing your sister in the care of her grandmother, it may not be easy to get a court to agree with a change of custody, but there is the possibility that the Court will allow you to adopt your sister. You would have to file for a modification of the standing court order. You would have to show the Court: (1) that you are able to financially support your sister and yourself, and (2) that there is some kind of serious problem with her grandmother’s ability to raise your sister; or (3) that her grandmother consents to the adoption. Contact a family law attorney in your jurisdiction for a consultation to discuss your options regarding the modification/adoption proceedings.