In family law, there is something known as third-party custody. It occurs when a third party who is not the biological parent of a child takes over their care.
In most cases, children do best when they have a good relationship with their parents. Even if their parents are divorced, it’s normally good for them to see each of their parents and to establish a relationship of some form with them.
What happens if a child has a poor relationship with one or both parents?
In those cases, a third-party custody arrangement may make more sense for the child. For instance, if a child’s father no longer wants to care for them and is neglectful, another person may petition for custody. For example, the father’s mother, the child’s grandmother, may seek third-party custody so that she can help take care of her grandchild.
Third-party custody can also be used in some other special circumstances, such as when a same-sex couple wants to have custody of each other’s children after a separation or biological aunts or uncles seek to take over custody of their nieces and nephews.
Third-party custody cases are challenging, and each one is unique. Of course, the child’s best interests come first, but the court also has to consider the rights of the biological parents. If the child is old enough, their preferences may also play a role in the outcome of the case.
A third-party custody case could be difficult to win, but if you want to seek custody and visitation time as a grandparent or relative of a child, you should have the opportunity. Our website has more information about seeking custody and when it may or may not be allowed.