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Sibling custody

Situations may arise in which Massachusetts residents may want to obtain custody of a younger sibling. Even if individuals may have a valid reason for wanting to do so, a court will still require that the individuals are independent and mature and have the financial resources to take care of the sibling.

Before initiating proceedings, those seeking sibling custody may try to ask their parents or the sibling's legal guardians to voluntarily surrender custody. If they are unable to provide the care the child needs, the parents may view the request as a welcome solution. Their agreement can make the process less stressful for everyone involved.

If it is necessary to go to court, the application should be filed where the sibling and the current legal guardian reside. If the sibling resides with someone other than a legal guardian, the petitioner may file in the court with jurisdiction in the area where the child resides. Questions regarding where to file the claim may be resolved by the court clerk.

The petitioner will have to provide verification that the parents' behavior is harming the child. The courts are very hesitant to strip custody from parents unless the child is in danger. The petitioner has to be either legally emancipated or over the age of 18. The sibling should be under the age of 18 or in some other way legally dependent. The exact procedure for filing a sibling custody request with the court will vary from state to state. A family law attorney may advocate on behalf of clients concerning these types of child custody issues, including those pertaining to visitation.

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