How do I get custody of my 15-year-old granddaughter?

Q: I am in bad health and do home dialysis. She is staying with me now and has been for about 6 months. I have applied for government housing but can only get a 1 bedroom unless I have legal custody. I am on social security and do not draw very much so I need to know what is my best option? (Crafton, PA)

A: You should have something in writing signed by the parents (if there is a father that has custody rights at this point) which transfers temporary physical custody of the child to you. The optimum method of doing this would be to obtain an Order of Court, signed by a Judge. This will be easier if done by an attorney. If you cannot afford one, you may be able to seek legal help if you are under a certain income level. It will be easier if the father consents. The other option is to ask Social Security if they will just take a letter signed by both parents. This would be less expensive. You may also want to ask the school in which she will be enrolled in and whatever medical providers she will see, what type of document they need. You may also want to consult with an attorney regarding having CYF involved. Doing so, may or may not be an advantage to you, depending on your entire situation.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.