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Depending on which state you reside, there are different procedures in petitioning to the court to obtain custody of a niece or nephew. However, usually there are not legal rights for custody for aunts and uncles. Parents are deemed to be the legal guardians of the child for making decisions in their best interests. There may be a few exceptions if there is neglectabuse, or danger to the child while living with the parents.
A showing to the judge that living with the aunt or uncle is in the best interest of the child is important. For example, if the mother or father have been recently convicted of a crime and it may be dangerous for the child to continue to reside with them. Furthermore, if there is any sexual or physical abuse by either parent to the. These can cause long-lasting mental and emotional trauma for the. Furthermore, it is important to make a distinction between the standard when it applies to the third party custody issues.
There are several factors a court determines within this standard to determine the well-being of the. It also closely examines the relationship between the parent and the. Furthermore, it looks to how the child will adjust to certain situations, cultures, community, and school. Lastly, it considers the mental and physical wellbeing of the parties involved.
It is crucial to identify the ones outlined in your local state to ensure you are meeting the requirements for custody case. As mentioned above, there is a difference between applying this standard for the parents versus third parties for visitation. Usually, for non-parents trying to obtain custodial rights, each state will allow for more clarity on the factors used to make this determination.
For custody, a third-party must show one of the five circumstances:. For visitation, the third-party must prove by clear and convincing evidence that there would be actual harm to the child if visitation is denied, which will often require expert witness testimony.
A third-party custody case is challenging to win, but if you want to seek custody and visitation time as a relative ofyou should have the opportunity to do so. The Parental Preference rule is a legal principle that favors the parent to obtain custody of the child rather than another person.
Under this rule, fit parents who are able and willing to care for their children have the predominant right to the custody and maintenance of their. In most states, there is a presumption that favors placement of the child with one or both of the parents, unless the parents are deemed to be unfit. This rule provides protection for the biological parents rights who are willing and able to care for their children by giving them priority of custody over anyone else.
The law allows third parties such as the extended family of aunts and uncles to have some rights but only with limitations. They are also allowed to intervene when a case is already pending against the parent related to the. There are two ways an aunt or uncle can obtain legal guardianship over their nieces and nephews but this differs among the states:.
Parents in life-threatening situations can grant temporary guardianship over the children through the proper legal documents. Some examples include:. However, you must prove in court that you are fit to care for the children. If another close relative is also fighting for custody or guardianship, this will be a difficult battle. It generally depends on which state you live in, as there are different visitation rights laws for each state. For instance, some states will allow an aunt to apply for visitation rights, but only in the event that the parents are separated.
If the two parents are not divorced or separated, and you attempt to seek visitation rights, the court will usually side with the parents. Very few states allow extended family members to request visitation rights. In order to be included in the visitation case, you will need to petition the court for visitation. The best way to identify if you have the option of requesting visitation rights is to consult with an attorney who has expertise in child custody, they can assist you with determining what your next steps are.
If you as an aunt or uncle are thinking about obtaining legal guardianship over your nephew or niece through the courts. The first step is to file a petition for guardianship with the appropriate court in the county where the child currently resides. It will be crucial to contact the local state child custody lawyer to understand what your rights and legal options are.
Child custody cases are complex and require a thorough evaluation of the person requesting custody of the child if they are not the biological parent. Ken LaMance. Ken ed LegalMatch in January Since arriving, Ken has worked with a wide assortment of talented lawyers, paralegals, and law students to grow LegalMatch's Law Library into a comprehensive source of legal information, written in a way that is accessible to everyone.
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