Grandparent & Non-Biological Parent Custody Lawyers
In most cases, the fights for child custody involve two biological parents who are either not in good terms or are getting a divorce. However, there are some instances where a third party must be included.
The family unit has been changing over time, and you will find that some kids are cared for by a relative, adoptive parent or a family friend. Such cases can be a bit complex and mostly involve conflicts between the biological parents and the third party. The court must make a tough decision with the child’s best interest at heart.
When Can Child Care Rights Be Awarded to a Third Party?
Biological parents will always have superior power over their kids. Nevertheless, it gets to a point where even the court feels that the parents are not fit to keep the child. In such cases, the only viable option is to put the child under the care of a non-bioparent.
This mostly happens when a third party challenges the presumption and presents evidence, showing that the parents are not fit to raise the child. The third-party can prove that the parent has been neglecting or abusing the kid. It could also be that the biological parents is a drunkard or drug addict, thus putting the child’s safety at risk.
If the court finds that one parent is unfit for child custody, the judge will automatically turn to the next. A non-biological parent can, however, seek custody of the kid if;
• One of the biological parents is dead, and the available one is unwilling to look after the child.
• Both parents are found to be unfit to look after the child.
• The two parents have willingly given up on the child’s rights.
• The child has been under the care of the guardian for the longest time.
Who Is Fit to Seek the Child’s Custody?
Just because the law allows third parties to seek child care does not mean that anyone has the right to do so. The interested party should have legal standing and prove that they have a connection with the child.
Also, having a blood relationship with the child does not guarantee that you are qualified to seek custody. It takes a stronger connection to prove that your intentions are pure and for the court to trust you. For example, a long-lost aunt cannot show up in court and claim that she has the right to the child simply because she’s a relative. The same aspects that the court uses when giving custody to biological parents are the same factors that are used when determining the right non-biological party. There is a range of custody options for non-biological parents some of which include;
Grandparents – Grandparents do not automatically get rights over the child if both parents are competent. The kid’s biological parents have the supreme right to raise their child in whichever way they deem fit. This means that if they do not want a grandparent visiting the kid, then the court will presume that the decision was for the best. This applies regardless of the bond the grandparents share with the child.
The case is different if the child was raised by the grandparent or spent most of their life under the grandparent’s care. For example, it could be that the parent left the kid under the grandparent’s care and went to a different city or state. This means that you have a parent-like relationship with the child, and s/he will be more comfortable with you than the parent.
In most states, a grandparent cannot presume the child’s custody unless the parent is willing to consent to the changes, or the grandparent can prove that there is a serious threat to the kid’s welfare.
Stepparent – This mostly applies where you get married to a single parent, and the other parent is not involved in the child’s life. This means that the child will spend more time with the two of you. If the biological parent dies, it is more sensible if the child is left under your care. However, if you wish to adopt the child, you should do it with the consent of the two biological parents.
Hire an Attorney Specializing in Child Custody
If you are a grandparent or stepparent seeking to acquire child custody, it is best if you hire an attorney and let the expert help you navigate through the complicated requirements. It takes skills and expertise to prove that you are fit to look after the child than the biological parents. You must establish your connection with the child. This is where an attorney comes in to help you collect evidence and plead your case. We are your go-to solution in such matters, and you can count on us to help you fight for the child’s safety.
If you have questions about parental responsibilities and parenting time in Ogden, we can help. We advocate for parental rights throughout Weber County, and we can discuss your options with you today. Contact Kaufman, Nichols & Kaufman today to learn more.