I Want to Adopt My Niece, of Whom I Have Legal Custody. What Are My Rights?

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‘I have had legal custody of my niece since she was 8 months old. She is now 3. Her dad is my nephew and the birth mother is my nephew’s girlfriend. The child was taken by DHR and I agreed to take her instead. I worked with DHR and got full custody of her. The parents do not have a home, job, or money. They agreed to sign her over to me and relinquish their rights. Now they are telling me they will not sign.
They do not support her in any way. The government supports my nephew and his girlfriend. I heard that after a certain time I can adopt her without their signature. Can you tell me if that is true or where the information is? Also I was told that DHR can help in the adopting expenses. Is any of this true?’

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Your questions will require that you speak with an attorney in your jurisdiction. However, generally speaking, it is pretty unusual for biological parents to lose all parental rights, absent very serious abuse or neglect. The fact that the child’s parents receive government assistance would rarely have any bearing on custody, let alone termination of parental rights.



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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.