Many Washington residents are rap music fans who joined in mourning with others throughout the country when Nipsey Hussle was shot to death at his own clothing store on the West Coast. The singer, activist and entrepreneur was the father of a 10-year-old girl and her 2-year-old half-sibling. It is the older child who is the central focus on a recently filed custody and parenting case.
The situation involves the child’s paternal aunt. She has petitioned the court for legal guardianship of her niece. In her petition, she has stated that she does not believe the child’s biological mother is able to be a fit parent.
When such cases arise, the court typically orders an investigation to determine whether a specific allegation has merit. If evidence convinces the court that a child is at risk in the care of a biological parent, the judge overseeing the case has discretion to determine what type of alternate living arrangement would be best. While it may be rare, an extended family member can sometimes be appointed as a legal guardian. Substance abuse, physical neglect, emotional or sexual abuse are all issues that a judge would find most concerning.
Custody and parenting cases can be highly contentious, especially those involving a biological parent and an extended relative of the child in question. As in all states, the Washington court system has children’s best interests in mind when handing down rulings. An experienced family law attorney can act on behalf of any man or woman wishing to file a petition in court.