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Can Non-Biological People Be Granted Custody?

Monmouth County child custody lawyers help clients seeking non-biological custody.Many children do not grow up in traditional families. When issues of child custody arise, in most instances, biological parents’ rights will outweigh those of a person unrelated to the child, but much depends on individual circumstances. The court makes custody decisions based on the best interests of the child, and giving custody to an unfit parent is not in the child’s best interests.

Adopting a Child

Adoption is usually a process in which people unrelated to the child become the legal parents. Once finalized, an adopted child has identical legal rights as biological children. When a child is adopted, the biological parents terminate their parental rights.

Parental Rights Termination

In New Jersey, parental rights termination is either voluntary or involuntary. In the latter case, a judge terminates the parental rights. The grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights are:

  • Child neglect or abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Parent has failed over one year to remedy the situation that had the child removed from their custody, although able to do so physically and monetarily
  • Parent was convicted of causing the death of the other parent
  • It is in the best interest of the child for guardianship placement

When Non-Biological People May Receive Custody

There are other situations in which the court may award custody to someone who is not related to the child. Such situations might include those in which the parent has deserted the child, parental incarceration, or severe parental illness.

Stepparents and Custody

Some stepparents may play a larger role in their stepchildren’s lives than the biological parent. If the marriage ends, the biological parent will receive custody. However, if the stepparent wants to adopt their stepchild, it is possible if the biological parent terminates their parental rights, or the stepparent can prove in court that the biological parent is unfit.

The Psychological Parent

There are some people who grow very close to a child and become a
psychological parent. If a person is actively parenting a child and wants custody, their attorney must show the court that the child lives with that individual and has done so for a certain period of time, that the biological parent approves of the custody arrangement, a parental bond exists between the psychological parent and the child, and the person has already shown the ability to care for the child financially.

Monmouth County Child Custody Lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Help Clients with Child Custody Issues

If you are dealing with child custody issues, you need the services of the experienced Monmouth County child custody lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Our lawyers can help you through this difficult and emotional situation. If you are interested in speaking to one of our lawyers, contact us online or call us today at 732-493-9400 for a free consultation.

Location in Eatontown, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean Township, Fair Haven, Eatontown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Middletown Township, Wall Township, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake.

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