One of the primary factors that need to be considered in a divorce is who will be responsible for the care and support of the minor children after the marriage has been dissolved. In most cases, joint custody, where both parents retain their rights and responsibilities, is awarded.
In cases where there is evidence that a parent has not fulfilled their rights and obligations to the child or children in question, sole custody may be granted to the other parent. Where both parents are considered to be incompetent to fulfill their parental responsibilities, the court can award custody to a third party.
Third Party Child Custody Arrangements
The third party is normally a family member or close friend who has the means to support the minor children. In cases where no such person is available, the child may become a ward of the state. The children will reside with the custodial parent who will then have the full rights and responsibilities that are normally afforded to a biological custodial parent.
In general, third party custody is on a temporary basis until one or both parents can prove that they have improved themselves or their circumstances in order to fulfill their full parental rights and responsibilities to the child or children in question. This may mean providing evidence that they can financially support the child or that they are able to provide a caring home and see to the needs of the child.
Parents do not forego their rights and responsibilities when a third party is awarded custody. They may be required to pay support or maintenance and should have reasonable access to the child or children which consists of visitation and contact.
In some cases, a concerned third party may request custody of the children during the divorce or after it has been finalized. This party will need to provide evidence that neither parent is fit to care for the child. The court will not award third party custody easily and would prefer that the children remain with one or both parents. However, all custody cases are decided on what is in the best interest of the child.
Whether you are seeking third party custody, need to defend against a third party custody action or are attempting to regain custody of your child or children, it is advisable to seek legal advice and representation. Robert Cossey & Associates have the legal knowledge and power to assist you in every child custody situation.
Call us now to schedule your free consultation: (509) 327-5563