My question involves guardianship in the State of: Indiana.
Hello, I would like to inquire about the likelihood that I could obtain guardianship of my sister. I am 24 years old, my husband is 23 years old. We have been married for five years and have no children. I have lived on my own since shortly before my 18th birthday. I moved out of my mother's house on July 26, 2002. I moved out because my mother occasionally got drunk and beat/degraded me. She also allowed my stepfather to occasionally beat me and when I was to fight back they acted as though I had done something wrong and was out of control.
One year later I moved in with my mother while I was searching for an apartment where I was planning to go to college. This living arrangement only lasted a short while as she was continually drunk. The final straw was when she brought a strange man home in the middle of the night from a bar - this man is no longer a stranger and they are dating, but this in my opinion was still and unsafe practice with an 18 year old female and a ten year old female in the home. I did not feel safe and moved in temporarily with my boyfriend's mother.
Shortly thereafter my plans changed and I got married, to said boyfriend, and decided to take a year off from school and work. That was five years ago. I have since then established myself, I bought a house three years ago, my husband and I both have excellent credit. My husband has been with his current employer all five years. I just recently left my employer of the past five years and obtained another job. We have been living above the median family income and are well equipped to take care of another individual, as we do not regularly socialize or "party" a others our age do.
Having said all of that... for the past five years my mother's drinking problem has gotten increasingly worse. She will go on drinking binges and mentally and physically abuse my sister. She occasionally will call me and try to verbally abuse me, but I do not humor her at all and refuse to enable this type of behavior. She does not have a drivers license, or a job and cannot provide for my sister appropriately. She is on unemployment, but is not receiving it because she owes money from the last time she went on unemployment. She also receives 50$ a week child support from my sister's father. She does not own her home, buts he also does not pay rent it is in my grandparents name. Her boyfriend is retired and receives some sort of retirement/pension, but not very much. He is a live in, but sometimes when she gets drunk he will pack his things and move out leaving her with less income, but he always seems to come back. I take my sister shopping for school clothes, provide her with the necessary electronics (computer and phone) as well as giving her money and buying her other things she may nee. My grandparents also assist in the support of my sister and her mother, by helping my mother pay for necessities, while my mother finds money for Southern Comfort and lotto tickets.
She has a violent temper and often tell my sister things such as, "I should have aborted you.", "You are the worst thing that happened to me." She tells my sister and I both about her plans to kill herself and that she carries a knife with her to do it anytime. She says may worse things to me about her, myself and my deceased father that I have a hard time repeating. She and my sister often get into screaming and punch for punch matches with my sister trying to defend herself. I have encouraged my sister to call the police, as I live three hours away and until recently worked more than 40 hours weekly. She refuses because my mother has her convinced that she will go to a foster home if she is taken away.
My sister is growing up terribly damaged, she does very well in school and her music program because of her dedication to stay out of the house and away from my mother, but has a below average level of social skills and often cannot appropriately communicate with people she is unfamiliar with. She is also suffering from very low self esteem.
I have offered to pay for her rehabilitation, I have offered to take my sister off her hands, I have offered to pay for any type of family counseling she would like and she refuses every time.
My sister has asked again to move in with me. My husband and I are fine with this, but my mother refuses to let her go. I will get a lawyer to move forward with the necessary proceedings, but I would like a little insight from someone knowledgeable in the process.
Could I be a good candidate to be my sisters guardian?
What is the likelihood if it was decided she is unfit that they would send her to my grand parents instead of me?
Can they actually put her in the foster system if there are willing parties for
guardianship within the family?
Where can I find the best lawyer?
What role will her father play in this? He left when she was eight and lives states away and has five other children from five other women none of which he has custody to, only one after my sister. I think he would be happy to let he go because he would not have to pay child support.
Will my recent change of employment play a role in the decision? I worked as a salaried office manager for five years and I have recently changed to two part time administrative jobs to have more time for betting myself and working on my business plan.
I would appreciate any help or opinions on this matter.