Depending on a family’s situation, a third party may care for a child.
While many parents hope to have a good relationship with their children, this is not always the case. Sometimes children have better relationships with other family members, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, stepparents, and even family friends. In children with divorced parents, some of these nonparents may even play a large role in nurturing and upbringing. Depending on a family’s unique situation, these non-parents may even want to apply for custody of the child(ren).
It’s no secret that many custody arrangements attempt to keep children in the care of their birth parents. Because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to difficult for non-parents to gain custody in Colorado. However, it is not impossible. In fact, after Colorado custody, there are a handful of different scenarios in which non-parents can gain custody of a child.
Biological parents do not have custody of the child(ren)
One scenario in which a non-parent may be able to obtain custody of a child is when the biological parents do not have legal physical custody of the child. Although Colorado does not have a definition of physical custody of a child, the courts will consider several factors when a non-parent seeks legal custody, including how often the child(ren) sees their birth parents and in what capacity and the relationship between the child/children and the non-parent. Abandoning the child is one way a non-parent can seek custody. In addition, if both parents are incarcerated, a non-parent may seek custody of the child(ren).
third party support
Depending on a family’s situation, a third party may care for a child. Third parties often already have a relationship with the child(ren). From grandparents to aunts and uncles to stepparents and family friends, many people in a child’s life may have an interest in gaining custody of the child, especially if there are issues with the birth parents that make it difficult for them to be the right parents to become. In Colorado, grandparents and other relatives can apply for an Assignment of Parental Responsibilities (APR) to obtain custody whenever they deem it necessary. However, APR can grant physical custody of a child and even legal custody to non-parents, meaning they would be able to make important decisions for the child(ren).
How do courts determine custody?
justice; Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm, via Unsplash.com.
When courts deal with child custody cases, there are many different things to consider. One thing that remains the same in any case is that courts will always try to make a custody arrangement with the best interests of the child(ren) in mind. A judge will consider the emotional, physical and developmental needs of the child(ren) in the decision-making process and consider the following:
- The birth parents’ ability to raise and meet the needs of the child
- Birth parents’ wishes
- The wishes of the child(ren)
- Do the biological parents have a history of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc.?
- The wishes of third parties
Regardless of the circumstances, an experienced family law attorney can help families work out a custody arrangement that respects the best interests of the child/children. Families in Denver, Aurora and throughout Colorado have access to attorneys just waiting to help them today.