How do I get custody of my cousin? I’m 24 years old and and my cousin is 17. He wants me to get custody of him. What papers to I need to file? How do I get custody of him?
The first question here is whether your cousin is eligible for adoption. If your cousin’s parents are dead or have had their parental rights terminated, then you may be able to adopt your cousin fairly easily. If not, you’ll have to first have the parents’ parental rights terminated. If the parents are willing, they may sign paperwork that will terminate their rights voluntarily. If they will not do this, you would have to petition the court to terminate their rights. Courts will only terminate parental rights involuntarily when they are provided clear evidence of neglect, abuse, or similar harms to the child by the parent. This process may take several months, and the child may not be adoptable for some time after the termination in order for the parents to appeal the termination. If this is the case, your cousin may be over 18 by the time this process is completed.