You do not have to be a lawyer to recognize that today’s children are being raised in large numbers by third-parties, ranging from grandparents to relatives to friends and total strangers. Knowing how important stability is to a child’s sense of well-being, many third-parties mistakenly believe that they can just file in court and obtain “custody” since they are raising someone else’s children. However, the United States Supreme Court has determined that natural (and adoptive) parents have one of the oldest and most protected rights—a fundamental right—to raise their children. Thus, a third-party has a legal barrier to overcome in ...
August 27, 2019CD
What is Third-Party Custody and How You Can Obtain Custody of Children You Are Raising?1 A commonly shared belief in our society is that children are often best off in the care and custody of their biological parents. The Supreme Court has stated that one of the oldest fundamental rights in the United States is a parent’s right to the “care, custody, and control of their children.”2 While this right is fundamental, like most everything in life, it is not absolute. The reality today is millions of children are being raised by grandparents, friends, neighbors, and strangers. This creates situations in ...
December 4, 2018CD
Yes. But as of Monday, July 31, 2018 so can certain advocates and attorneys for your children. This comes by a sweeping decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals applying the statutory authority for this power (or standing) created by the Legislature. This blog surveys when and why DCS may seek to sever a parent-child relationship and addresses who else the Legislature empowered to do so by a new application of the law. After the Department of Child Services (DCS) brings a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) case, and the court finds a legal basis for the children being CHINS, ...
August 8, 2018CD
Today, millions of children are being raised by grandparents, friends, neighbors, and sometimes, total strangers. This trend is growing each year. In this situation, these individuals acting as “parents” have no legal rights to the children they are raising, despite the fact they are providing for all aspects of their physical and emotional well-being. Practically speaking, this reality can create a multitude of problems for the caretakers, from enrolling the children in school to obtaining health care. All the while, the children are bonding with this caregiver like a biological parent. However, sometimes a parent just shows up years later ...
June 18, 2018CD
What Parents (And Those Around Children) Need to Know About Removal as Punishment and Its Connection to Divorce, DCS Investigations, And Criminal Charges Parents who have children heavily involved with the use of electronics have all probably observed a “meltdown” when devices are taken as a form of punishment. However, with a certain segment of children—even very young children—mainstream psychology publications began widely reporting in 2017 various psychological issues with detachment and depression with removing electronic devices from the child. Pre- and teenagers had some changes in behavior, but also took outrageous steps to seek the return of the devices on par ...
April 30, 2018CD
In many homes across America today, a grandparent (or third party) is the one raising a child or children of the biological parents. This may be for many reasons; typically, it is due to the instability of a parent, physical or mental health issues, drug use, incarceration of a parent or a pure lack of the ability and/or desire of a biological parent, well, to parent. This blog addresses what happens when a grandparent (or third party) becomes a bonded caregiver for such children and what steps they can take to keep “custody” in the child’s best interests. Over time, a ...
February 19, 2018CD
Law changes ever so imperceptibly every day. It has to in order to keep up with our society and afford each of us the right to achieve “life, liberty and happiness” through due process of law. The right to due process of law protects the family that is singled out for the most protection in the Constitution —there is a fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, even if other people or government believes otherwise or disagrees. This blog explores the key daily changes in domestic law and how they balance against the rights of ...
December 27, 2017CD
Raising Someone Else’s Children A word that has almost vanished from common conversations is the term “nuclear” family. This conjured up the notion of a mother, father, two children (a boy and a girl), family dog, and the proverbial white fence. Now children are routinely shared between same-sex parents, divorced parents or have a single parent. However, there are tens of thousands of children being raised by neighbors, other family members, or a trusted friend of parents. Sometimes the children are abandoned, not supported or contacted by the parent or parents again. This creates problems with school enrollment to medical care. The ...
December 1, 2017CD
Clearly, natural and adoptive parents have a fundamental right to raise their children.1 However, given these constraints, the Indiana Courts have four important tools by statues and one by caselaw to utilize to assist third parties to obtain “custody” of children where their well-being depends on it. The reality in the United States is that millions and millions of children are primarily raised by people other than their parents, mostly by grandparents and relatives. Millions more are raised for periods of their childhood by third parties such as neighbors. To balance the fundamental rights with a child’s mental and emotional ties ...
March 10, 2017Adam Hayes
Without question, more third parties--from neighbors to grandparents--are caring for or raising others’ children. What are their rights to contact, visitation, parenting time, and custody of the children they are caring for and/or raising? This is a complex factual and legal question since the United States Constitution provides biological (and adoptive) parents with the fundamental (i.e., high level) right to raise their children; this legal right trumps the fact a third party may do a markedly better job. This blog post explores the current exceptions to this (fundamental) constitutional right of parents and explores third-party rights or exceptions recognized under Indiana law--given ...
February 16, 2017Adam Hayes