Daily news stories and life experiences demonstrate to us all that third parties, such as neighbors, friends, and grandparents are helping more and more to raise children. Sometimes disputes like divorce causes such third parties to be removed from a care-giving role that they want to continue and perhaps the children need for security and stability. This blog post explores this topic.
Third parties always have one big legal hurdle to overcome, although many have done so in Indiana and other states. This is a parent’s fundamental right to raise his or her children with a minimal of state interference. The award of custody, parenting time, or visitation to a third party can only come from a court order, which is the “state interference.”
At present in Indiana, there are at least four legal categories of persons who have legal right or standing to seek custody, parenting time, or visitation with children of other parents, although there is tremendous social pressure to expand this group:
- Step parents.
- De facto custodians.
- Children who have become so emotionally interwoven with third parties to sever their relationship would cause harm to the child.
Grandparents and step parents are clear as to their legal definition in most cases. De facto custodians can be anyone who has provide the primary care and support for a child under three for six months and over three for at least a year. This is a right established by the legislature. The last classification was established before the de facto legal right by the Indiana Court of Appeals and Supreme Court and has a very broad application, sensitive to the facts and the child’s best interests.
We hope you find this blog post on the rights of third parties who care for the children of others to seek custody, parenting time or visitation informative. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. It is not intended to solicit a specific client or provide legal advice. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle cases involving third party custody across the State of Indiana.