If a California resident wants to gain custody of a younger sibling, it may be possible to do without engaging in a legal battle. In some cases, it may be possible for an individual to simply ask the legal parent or guardian to give up custody. Some parents may actually relish the opportunity to be relieved of their duties, and it may make it easier on the parent, the child and the person seeking custody.

In the event that it is necessary to go to court to seek custody, a case should be filed wherever the child and his or her legal guardian live. If the child already lives with the person seeking custody, a petition can be filed wherever that person lives. The top priority when going to court is to show that the child’s legal parent or parents are being abusive or otherwise neglecting the child.

Typically, the person looking to obtain custody of a sibling must be over the age of 18 or legally emancipated. The sibling must be under the age of 18 or otherwise legally dependent if older than 18. In the event that taking custody of a sibling is not possible, it may be worthwhile to ask for visitation rights.

Those who involved in a custody dispute regarding a sibling may want to have the help of an attorney. Taking this step does not mean that family members may not continue to talk with each other in the hopes of possibly reaching an agreement. Instead, it preserves the rights of an individual in the dispute while looking out for the best interest of the child as well. Legal counsel may be helpful whether a case goes to court or is resolved through mediation.