This is a very confusing situation, but I am going to articulate it as best I can. My husband's brother had a daughter in 1991. He could not take care of her. His wife decided to give the child to my mother-in-law to take care of when she was 5 weeks old. My mother-in-law raised her until she was 6 years old. My brother-in-law got remarried and decided to take my mother and father-in-law to court for custody. He was awarded partial custody. My niece is living in California with her father, but my mother and father-in-law, who live in NY, have visitation on Easter, Christmas and up to six weeks in the summer.
The first couple years the visitations went fine. Then my brother-in-law and his wife started making excuses why my neice could not go to New York for her visitations. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in March of 2004. My brother-in-law still would not let my neice go to NY to see his dying Grandmother for the Christmas visitation. In March of 2005, my mother-in-law was not doing well and her doctor recommended the family come home to see her. My brother-in-law did go to NY and take his daughter to see my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law passed away this past July. My brother-in-law would not allow his daughter to go to NY for the funeral. He and his wife decided that she already said her goodbyes in March.
My husband and I are completely disgusted and upset with how his brother is treating our niece. She is also mistreated by her step mother. We are the most financially stable family of all his siblings and would provide a very loving and caring environment for my niece. However, we live in Kansas and are unsure of how my husband's sisters would react to us wanting custody of our niece. I called a family lawyer in CA to have the custody agreement rewritten in CA, because we were told it isn't enforceable in CA because it was written in NY. I have an appointment with the lawyer next week to discuss all of our options. I am just really confused as to what to do, but I feel like I need to do something to get my niece out of the distructive enviornment that she is living in.