Family Law and Divorce Attorneys in Virginia
Caring and Experienced Third Party Child Custody Attorneys Protecting Your Rights At Every Turn

Third Party Child Custody in Virginia

Helping You Navigate Complex Custody Disputes

At Malinowski Hubbard, we have extensive knowledge of Virginia’s custody and visitation laws and how they are applied in diverse contexts. Whether you are a biological parent who would like to object to a third party's request for custody or visitation, or you are a third party interested in seeking custody or visitation of a child, we can help. Our Fairfax child custody attorneys can educate you regarding the laws and develop an effective strategy tailored to meet your goals.

What Is Third Party Custody of a Child?

Third party custody cases are those that involve individuals who are not the child's biological parent. Third parties can include grandparents, uncles, aunts, stepparents, or another family member who is concerned with the child's welfare. In Virginia, different legal standards apply to third-party custody and visitation cases, so it is important that you consult a Fairfax divorce attorney who is well-versed in the law as it applies to your situation.

Contact our skilled attorneys today to get started on your case!

When Parents Lose Custody Rights

nonparent with third party custody walking hand in hand with girlWhile Virginia law does favor a child's biological parents over third parties, there are exceptions. The courts will examine whether or not the third party already has an ongoing relationship that nurtures the child. This gives more weight to that non-parent's claim for custody.

Third parties can be granted child custody in the following situations:

  • When both parents are not fit to care for the child
  • When the custodial parent has passed away and the surviving parent is unable to care for the child
  • When the child has already been residing with the third-party individual for an extended period of time
  • Both parents have given up their rights to their child

If you believe that a child is being abused or abandoned and you want to care for that child, we may be able to help you pursue an emergency custody order. We are prepared to guide clients through complex custody issues and to assist in making sure that their family members and loved ones are safe.

If you have a question about your particular situation, feel free to contact our team.

How Courts Determine Third-Party Custody

When courts decide to grant a third party with custody of a child, they do so on a case-specific basis, as the law is rather broad in this particular area.

Some factors that come into play when deciding third-party custody:

  • Does the third party have a legitimate interest?
  • Are the biological parents fit?
  • What is the third party's relationship to the child?
  • How long has the third party had a relationship with the child?
  • Will third-party custody benefit the child?
  • Do the parents object?

Can a Non-Family Member Get Custody of a Child?

It is possible for a third-party that is not a member of the family to gain custody of a child if:

  • Both parents are unfit and the state removes the child from their custody and places him or her in foster care/the adoption system;
  • Both parents pass away and the child has already been living with someone outside of the family for a significant amount of time;
  • Both parents are either unfit or pass away and the court allows the godparent(s) to have custody of the child; or
  • Both parents willingly relinquish their parental rights and opt for adoption.

Protecting a Child's Best Interests

The primary concern at our family law firm is preserving the welfare of children while advocating for our client's interests. Our Fairfax child custody lawyers combine our courtroom savvy and exceptional legal skills to provide effective solutions to even the most challenging custody disputes.

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To discuss your case, call (703) 935-4222 or contact us online today.

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