My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Missouri
2 weeks ago my nieces mother died in a car accident. Nobody notified my brother, who is the father of her. Her maternal grandmother took her home from the hospital, and has had her ever since. My brother and his ex just had a verbal agreement about custody, she kept her during the week and he got her on weekends. My brother lives with my parents and has no job. He's on parole, but working on getting things back on track and doing right.
He left her in the care of her grandparents because he felt it was right to not upset her or them anymore right after the death of her mother, their daughter. He has tried to discuss with them an arrangement where he would share joint custody with them, only because he doesn't want to fight and wants to do what's right for her.
Now they have offered him $15,000 to sign some paperwork giving away his rights to have a say in anything in her life. They don't want to allow him to take her from their house, even though they have no legal custody of her right now.
I know in MO they do not recognize grandparent rights for visitation, but not sure about custody after parental death. These people have a lot of money, and I don't see why money always has to be the deciding factor if he can provide for her.
What can he do? I know they have no legal rights to her now, but he's afraid to cause problems by taking her away altogether, and he doesn't want to take the police to their house because he doesn't want to traumatize her anymore than she already is by seeing her mother die.
If he takes her, they will most likely file for temporary custody and try to fight for full legal custody. What kind of chance does he have of them taking her away considering his record, which isn't anything violent, and considering he lives with my parents and has no job? We have discussed him giving me custody and allowing her to live with me, but I don't have the funds for a lawyer and custody battle either.