Do Nonparents Have A Right To Custody?

Families come in all forms. Many children are cared for by third parties and develop strong, parental-like bonds with these individuals. Unfortunately, the law does not see it this way.

In North Carolina, the law presumes children are best cared for by their parents. However, there are specific circumstances in which nonparents — third parties — can petition the court for custody.

At the Raleigh Divorce Law Firm, we help clients maintain their relationships with the children they love. If you are a third party seeking custody, or a parent seeking to prevent a third party from obtaining custody or visitation of your child, our attorneys can help.

When Can A Third Party Seek Custody Of A Child?

In general, a third party can pursue custody when:

  1. He or she has assumed parental responsibilities or

  2. He or she has a biological relationship with the child — such as grandparent, aunt/uncle or sibling — and the biological parents are unfit or unwilling to care for the child.

Third parties can also petition for custody when a parent has voluntarily given up his or her parental duties or abandoned the child.

Example: If a parent leaves his/her child with a third party, has limited contact with the child and does not provide any financial support.

In these circumstances, the court will make custody and visitation determinations based on the best interests of the child.

Putting Children's Interests First During Custody Disputes

Custody disputes can often become contentious, negatively impacting minor children. Our goal is to resolve custody disputes as efficiently and calmly as possible. Our lawyers use mediation and negotiation whenever possible. However, if litigation is necessary to protect your interests and the interests of the children in your life, we will go to court to protect your rights.

Located in Raleigh, we represent parents and nonparents throughout Central North Carolina during third-party custody actions. To learn more about your rights, contact our firm. Schedule a consultation via email or by calling 919-926-1943 or 866-319-9862.