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SA How to Obtain Custody of Children for Sibling?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by caseybriar, 19 July 2016.

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  1. caseybriar

    caseybriar Member

    19 July 2016
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    I'm currently looking into getting custody of children for my younger sibling when I turn eighteen this December.

    Right now my twelve-year-old sister is living with my mother and stepfather, both have previously been abusive towards my older sister, myself and my younger sister. My older sister who is twenty-one wants nothing to do with our parents and now I'm left to help my sister as no one else will. My younger sister is currently suffering from mental health issues that are not being addressed by my mother as she believes that it's not important.

    Because of the abuse from my parents, I had to leave home and live in homeless youth housing because my mother said she was unable to cope with my mental health issues. I'm very concerned that it will be too late for my younger sister if this happens to her when she is legally allowed to leave home
    I'm currently living with my partner and studying child protection online and back off my feet again. Child protection agencies have been involved for years but we have constantly been swept under the rug. I have cared for my younger sister previously when my parents have been absent.

    About six months ago, my younger sister had an assessment with the independent children's lawyer or ICL and I discussed with him the issues. He suggested that I seek custody of her in December, I just don't know how to go about it.

    I would also like to access the ten or so years of family court orders from my father and mother regarding my siblings and I to help my case. How would I go about this? Will I be charged a fee for the documents?

    Thank you for any help and I apologise if it's confusing, I have been trying to get my head around it for more than ten years.
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    I don't believe you will be able to access the orders made in the past since you weren't a party to proceedings, but you might like to call the Family Law Registry for their guidance on that.

    As for applying for custody of your younger sibling, you can do this in the same fashion that parents do - first step is to organise a family dispute resolution conference (though it can be bypassed if there is evidence of abuse - given the involvement of DHS, this is a possibility), and if a family dispute resolution conference doesn't work and agreement can't be reached about care arrangements for your sibling, the next step is to file an initiating application with the Court for parenting orders.

    I can give you all the legislation, but I think you should definitely get legal advice for this matter, rather than taking suggestions and advice from strangers on the Internet. Legal Aid offers free legal advice for family law matters and if you're under the threshold, they may also fund your case. The issue with Legal Aid, however, is that they don't often like to go to trial and prefer to settle instead, and it sounds like this could be a case that ends up at trial.

    Even if you don't go for legal aid funding, I still think you should speak to one of their lawyers for advice. They're extremely helpful and will be able to look at all the facts of your case to give you a better prognosis than we can.

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