Woman No Longer Wants Custody of Ex-Husband’s 17-Year Old Niece

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Nearly two years ago I got legal custody of my ex-husband’s 17-year old niece because she was in a terrible situation.  She has decided to do what she wants to do and to not listen to any of the household rules.  I have talked and talked to her to no avail. She is sneaking out at night and so on. How do I give her back to the courts so they can place her somewhere where she can get what she needs and get me out of being legally responsible for her?”

Welcome to parenting a teen.  Without knowing a whole lot more about the situation that lead to your having legal custody of her, it’s hard to offer advice, but it sounds as if you want to undo the legal custody arrangement, and in general that would require someone else being willing to take over.  If her parents are not willing or able to step up to the plate, you may want to talk with your ex-husband to see whether he may be able to help, or if he knows of another family member who can assist.  Also try talking with the guidance counsellor at her school to see what they suggest and, finally, you may also want to talk to your local department of social services to see what help they can offer.