Saturday, May 17, 2014

How can my niece be emancipated or how can I gain custody of her from her parents?

Q:  My niece is 17 and living with her boyfriend. She goes to a community college but is unable to get student aide because the parents are either unable or unwilling to fill out the necessary forms. Her mother won't give her money for necessities, such as gas and food and clothing although she gets child support for her and her sister from her father (my brother- drug addict). Her father is a drug addict on Workmen's compensation right now. Her mother is unemployed living with her boyfriend (employed), whom my niece does not get along with. Her mother has a child with this boyfriend and also my other niece, sister to the niece I am referring to, lives with her mother, goes to HS and works part time. I give her money for necessities whenever she asks me as well as pay her college.

A:  David's Answer:  You may file for custody in Family Court. That said, I disagree with the opinion that a 17yo can "do anything she wants." Any child under 18 can theoretically be the subject of a person in need of supervision ("PINS") petition if s/he disregards parental control. You're best advised to schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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