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 25-years-old and I currently care for my little brother who is 8-years-old. Our father has been incarcerated and his mother gave up her legal rights as a parent. My father’s rights have also been taken away. Our older brother adopted him to avoid my younger brother from being put into the foster care system. Our older brother however does not have the lifestyle to care for my younger brother (works odd hours, no help for pick up drop off, no interest in extracurricular activities). So for the last 3 years, my brother has been in my care. I have registered him for school, taken him to medical appointments, parent teacher conferences, karate, and everything in between. Our older brother gets a stipend from the state for adopting him and sometimes he gives it to me or sometimes he keeps it. He always claims my younger brother on his taxes and I believe that this is the main reason why he won’t relinquish his custody of my brother. My older brother provides no outside financial support, he never spends time with him, or even calls to check up on him. I have two other children and I am in the Air Force Reserves. My fiancee also works. My question is, how do I go about gaining custody of my little brother? Do you believe I have a good case/chance?
You may ask your brother to agree to share custody of your younger brother with you. You should get him to sign an agreement that states the terms of the shared custody arrangement and file it with the court.
Alternatively, depending on your state law, you may be able to file a petition for custody by a relative. You can seek full custody or shared custody (physical and legal) with your brother. You will have to sign a declaration which expresses your intent to obtain custody of your younger brother. The court will consider several factors in deciding to grant custody to you such as your financial stability, emotional, and psychological well being as well.
You may want to mention the support that you have provided to your younger brother and how you believe that you would be a better guardian than your older brother.