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 lawyers 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
While 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
Fairfax family law firm is preserving the welfare of children while advocating for our client's
Fairfax child custody lawyers combine our courtroom savvy and exceptional legal skills to provide effective
solutions to even the most challenging custody disputes.
To discuss your case, call (703) 935-4222 or
contact us online today.