Third Party Child Custody Rights
Determining child custody between parents can be a major source of contention during divorce proceedings, however, family structure today is not always made up of a child’s biological parents. When divorce happens, these relationships that both the child and the third party have built together can become threatened. In certain situations, that third party may have a successful claim at gaining child custody rights of the child in question.
How Child Custody is Determined
In order to determine child custody in Texas, similar to many other states, courts will assess the situation using the best interest of the child standard. The best interest of the child standard assesses the current environment in the home, both parents ability to take care of the child properly on their own, the distance between the two homes, and the employment and financial situations of both parties. If the child is over the age of 12 years old, the judge will also consider their preference given in court. There are additional factors taken into consideration, such as the child’s wishes, the stability of the homes, the stability both emotionally and financially of the parent in question, the current and also future needs of that child, acts or omissions of the parent that indicate unfit parenting, as well as programs available to assist in child rearing.
Who Else Can File for Child Custody?
In order to file for child custody as a third party, you will need to have legal standing to do such by showing your relationship to the child and how you are interested in the matter. There are many situations today in which the grandparents raise the child for a specific period of time, thus, having the child continue to live with them becomes in their best interest due to stability. However, grandparents do not generally have custody rights if there is a fit parent in the picture, but they can file for it. Additionally, many stepparents file for custody due to the parental role they have played for the child over a number of years mimicking that of a biological parent. Generally, any parties who are non-parents will not have rights to child custody unless the parents’ rights have been fully terminated. Parental rights can be terminated for a number of reasons, including abuse, negligence, or unfit parenting, to name a few.
Are You Facing a Third Party Child Custody Problem?
Individuals other than a child’s parents can play an incredibly important role in raising a child and also can provide needed stability. If you or someone you know is seeking child custody of a child that is not biologically their own, they have rights to pursue legal custody if the parent is unfit. Please do not hesitate to call the experienced lawyers at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. today in our Houston office at 713-654-2112, or simply reach out using our website and we will contact you.