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Seeking nonparental custody of a child

Seeking custody of a child who is not your biological child poses some important challenges you must address head-on if you hope to win custody of the child you love. Custody cases can vary wildly, depending on the individual factors at play in the situation. In some instances, nonparental custody is an obvious solution for a child in great need of stability, while in many other cases, a court may believe that the child's biological parents still offer a reasonably safe and beneficial home for the child.

Almost all courts prefer to keep a child with at least one of its biological parents if at all possible, but this is not always best for the child itself. If, for instance, only one parent is in the picture, and that parent poses serious safety threats to the child, a court may become much more willing to consider nontraditional custody alternatives.

In general, even if you are not the biological parent of a child, the closer you are to the child biologically, the easier it is to claim some form of custody. This generally means that relatives, like grandparents or aunts and uncles may offer stable home opportunities for a child that a court recognizes, whereas an unrelated friend of the family or of the child may also receive custody under some circumstances, but may encounter greater challenges than others.

The key issues here revolve around the safety and interests of the child. If those who traditionally receive custody either actively wish to rid themselves of the child or pose some sort of threat to the ongoing safety of the child, nonparental custody becomes a much more viable option. An experienced attorney can help you identify these opportunities and build a strong strategy to help you protect and provide for a child who dearly needs your love.

Source: FindLaw, "How Child Custody Decisions Are Made," accessed Oct. 27, 2017

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