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Runaway

AnonInMT

Junior Member
#1
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Montana

I have a 17 year old runaway brother. If he shows up can he stay with me (older sister)? Could I get custody of him? Or, could I keep him until a court decision, and is there anyway that could take a full year? He's runaway from my father's custody, serious abuse, but he's in another state where they won't do anything about it. Social services won't step in because of his age. Brother is an MT citizen. I need to know what to ask when I meet a lawyer, and what I need to research, because I won't be able to afford much legal help. Thanks so much!
 

quincy

Senior Member
#2
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Montana

I have a 17 year old runaway brother. If he shows up can he stay with me (older sister)? Could I get custody of him? Or, could I keep him until a court decision, and is there anyway that could take a full year? He's runaway from my father's custody, serious abuse, but he's in another state where they won't do anything about it. Social services won't step in because of his age. Brother is an MT citizen. I need to know what to ask when I meet a lawyer, and what I need to research, because I won't be able to afford much legal help. Thanks so much!
From what state did your brother run?

It is certainly better for your brother if he stays with you rather than you leaving him to fend for himself on the streets.

How old are you?
 
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HRZ

Senior Member
#3
I have no clue as to abuse and runaway issues...but if you take brother in you may also be able to recover costs from dad in MT...see MT 40 - 6 - 215 ... even in a runaway situation
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
#4
Taking in a runaway could have legal (i.e. CRIMINAL) consequences for you. If he has been reported to the police in his home state as a runaway, you might find yourself facing criminal charges for concealing him from his legal guardian or the authorities. You might consider contacting child services where you live to avoid any legal entanglements, and to try and obtain aid for your brother.

You claim he is the victim of "serious abuse." What does that mean? If it is not physical or sexual abuse, then it's no wonder that the authorities in his home state could not act on it. Verbal abuse, and even the ever-present and often-used (erroneously), "psychological abuse", are issues that are generally not sufficient to remove a child from dad's custody. Before you can even consider applying for temporary custody, your brother would have to be legally removed from dad's custody. Until that happens, you could face criminal liability for concealing him ... not to mention how will you obtain medical assistance for him if he gets ill or injured? What about school? There is a lot to consider while he's hiding at your place.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#5
Taking in a runaway could have legal (i.e. CRIMINAL) consequences for you. If he has been reported to the police in his home state as a runaway, you might find yourself facing criminal charges for concealing him from his legal guardian or the authorities. You might consider contacting child services where you live to avoid any legal entanglements, and to try and obtain aid for your brother.

You claim he is the victim of "serious abuse." What does that mean? If it is not physical or sexual abuse, then it's no wonder that the authorities in his home state could not act on it. Verbal abuse, and even the ever-present and often-used (erroneously), "psychological abuse", are issues that are generally not sufficient to remove a child from dad's custody. Before you can even consider applying for temporary custody, your brother would have to be legally removed from dad's custody. Until that happens, you could face criminal liability for concealing him ... not to mention how will you obtain medical assistance for him if he gets ill or injured? What about school? There is a lot to consider while he's hiding at your place.
AnonInMT should not be charged with a crime in Montana if her brother winds up at her house. See Montana Title 45 Crimes, Chapter 5, Custodial Interference section 45-5-304(3): http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0450/chapter_0050/part_0030/section_0040/0450-0050-0030-0040.html

If the dad reports his son to the police - as either missing or as a runaway - the boy's name and identifying information will be entered into the NCIC database. If the boy is located by police living in Montana with his sister, the police will notify the dad that the boy has been found. If the boy is picked up by the police but the dad chooses not to pick up his son, the boy could be released back to his sister.

Being a runaway is a status offense in Montana so no charges should be filed against either the sister or her brother.

AnonInMT should not hide her brother from authorities or the dad, however. IF her brother shows up on her doorstep, she will want to notify authorities but she or her brother might want to speak to an attorney in Montana before telling the police of her brother's presence in her home.
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
#6
I never said that winding up there would be a crime by either party. And, I fully understand the concept of a status offense (I DO instruct at the academy on juvenile crimes and related offenses, after all). However, the sister who takes in the child may well be committing a crime by not advising authorities of the presence of a reported runaway knowing that the child IS a runaway. Concealing, or actively aiding the child to remain out of their parent's control likely IS a crime.

I'm not going to read all of the MT statues, but I have yet to hear of a state that condones someone concealing a child from their parent.

If the police or child services locate the child and dad does not respond, it would not be the police returning the child, it would be child services (aka CPS) who would decide upon placement. Said placement might well be with the sister ... but, that would depend upon her circumstances. Though, it is also possible that the child may be returned to dad's state in the custody of that state's child services agency. How MT might handle it, and how dad's state might handle it, I couldn't say. But, absent dad granting permission for the child to remain where he was, child services/CPS would have that say.
 
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quincy

Senior Member
#7
I never said that winding up there would be a crime by either party. And, I fully understand the concept of a status offense (I DO instruct at the academy on juvenile crimes and related offenses, after all). However, the sister who takes in the child may well be committing a crime by not advising authorities of the presence of a reported runaway knowing that the child IS a runaway. Concealing, or actively aiding the child to remain out of their parent's control likely IS a crime.

I'm not going to read all of the MT statues, but I have yet to hear of a state that condones someone concealing a child from their parent.
We agree that she should not hide the fact that her brother is at her house. But she should not be charged with a crime for taking him in.

Here, by the way, is a link to the support law mentioned by HRZ: http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0400/chapter_0060/part_0020/section_0150/0400-0060-0020-0150.html
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
#8
Nothing in any of the linked laws appears to protect a sibling - or anyone else - from concealing a child or aiding in their being out of the control of their parent. Nor, should it.

The sister should contact the appropriate authorities if her brother shows up both to protect herself, and also to get the assistance her brother might need (health care, education, legal assistance, etc.)
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#9
I may have missed it...but being a runaway may not be a status offense in MT ...

And nothing OP posted addressed concealing presence of a child ...and that's not how the interference with parental rights portion is worded ...failure to return upon demand to do IS a problem, but that's not in picture so far.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#10
Nothing in any of the linked laws appears to protect a sibling - or anyone else - from concealing a child or aiding in their being out of the control of their parent. Nor, should it.

The sister should contact the appropriate authorities if her brother shows up both to protect herself, and also to get the assistance her brother might need (health care, education, legal assistance, etc.)
NO ONE has said to HIDE the brother. There is nothing wrong with AnonInMT HOUSING the brother if he comes to see her in Montana. She should let the police know her brother is with her.

I recommend AnonInMT contact a family law attorney in Montana should her brother show up, this before contact with the police.

IF the brother is really in an abusive situation with his dad - and given his current age - Montana may wish to keep the brother (a Montana resident, apparently) in the state instead of returning him to whatever state he is living in with his father, at least until facts are sorted out.

If he is returned home, he is likely to run away again - and he may disappear entirely next time.

I DO NOT recommend AnonInMT contact CPS.

(being a runaway is a status offense in Montana - here is a link to a Missoula, Montana, Juvenile Status Offense Report for an example: https://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/496)
 
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