Third Party Custody Complaints

Help from Our Hackensack Family Law Attorneys

New Jersey is very protective of the fundamental rights of parenthood bestowed upon a biological parent. However, such rights are not absolute. New Jersey courts have a paramount duty to safeguard children, and are empowered with the authority to limit or otherwise impact the rights of biological parents in certain circumstances.

Issues can arise where a Hackensack family lawyer is necessary to protect your rights and the best interests of your child or children. Call Laterra & Hodge, LLC at (201) 580-2240.

Circumstances where a Third Party has a Claim to Custody

When a third party who is not the biological parent of the child petitions a court to take custody of a child, this third party with no relation to the child normally cannot seek custody of that child. However, in limited “exceptional” circumstances, a court will afford standing to a third party to petition for custody. For example, where a biological parent is deemed unfit to continue as the custodian of a child, the court will step in to protect a child.

Moreover, where the third party had resided with the child for a significant length of time, and the child has developed a bond with that third party akin to a parent-child relationship, that party can petition the court for custody as a “psychological parent.” Case law has set forth a multi-prong test for determining whether a third party will be afforded psychological parent status.

Proving a Bond

In addition to demonstrating the bond with the child and the harm that may befall the child if the bond is severed, the third party must show that he or she resided with the child for a significant period of time. He or she must further show that he or she acted in a parent-like role with the child, did so without any expectation of compensation, and did so with the assent of the biological parent.

At Laterra & Hodge, LLC, our Hackensack family law attorneys understand the finer points related to third party complaints for custody. Allow us to help you navigate the substantive and procedural considerations in petitioning for or defendant against third party custody complaints.

Schedule a free initial consultation when you call (201) 580-2240.

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