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Gaining legal custody of nephew - need advice!

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My husband and I are going to be taking in our 13-year-old nephew in a day or so. His mother has been arrested, and we expect her to be in jail for 3-5 years. We are more than happy to take this child in, he has had a very difficult like thus far, and believe that we can provide a stable home for him.

However, we are not familiar at all with the laws of Florida, and do not know what we need to do to gain at a MINIMUM temporary legal custody, so that we will be able to enroll him in school this Fall.

His father has not been involved in his life since the boy was an infant. He rarely pays child support, and has not seen Matt in quite a few years. My husband and I have been together for over 6 years, and Matt's biological father has not seen him within that time. He has been contacted repeatedly by the state regarding his support, but has never seen his child. Family has even offered to bring the child to see him, but he refused the visit. I don't foresee him giving up custody being a problem, but locating him to get him to do so might be an issue.

I guess what I need to know is: Who do we contact? Where do we start? We live in the same state (Florida) as the rest of the family, but about four hours away, so we feel somewhat isolated from the situation, and are worried that we might do something "wrong".

Any help anyone can offer would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

Thank you!

Sarah Parsons

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