Nonparent Custody And Visitation
About Nonparent Custody And Visitation
Nonparent custody and visitation refer to situations where a person who is not the biological parent of a child seeks custody or visitation rights. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as when a grandparent, stepparent, or other close relative wants to take care of a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so, or when a non-parental caregiver has established a significant relationship with a child. This information includes:
- Custody For Nonparents
- Visitation For Nonparents
- Court-Ordered Kinship Custody For Nonparents
A nonparent seeking custody of a child must file a lawsuit and prove that the child's parent is unfit or that the child's welfare would be substantially harmed if left in the care of the parent. The nonparent must also show that they have a genuine interest and commitment to the child's welfare and that awarding custody to them would serve the child's best interests.
To be granted custody as a nonparent, the individual must show the:
- The child's parent is unwilling or unable to provide proper care and supervision for the child, or awarding custody to the parent would cause substantial harm to the child.
- Awarding custody to the nonparent is in the best interests of the child.
The court will consider various factors when determining whether custody is in the best interests of the child, including the child's age and needs, the relationship between the child and the individual seeking custody, the impact of custody on the child's daily routine, and school schedule, and any other relevant factors.
What You Need To Know
The following individuals may be able to apply for nonparent custody:
Grandparents: Louisiana law recognizes that grandparents can play an important role in a child's life, and grandparents may be able to seek custody if it is in the best interests of the child.
Other Relatives: Non-grandparent relatives, such as aunts, uncles, or cousins, may also be able to seek custody if it is in the best interests of the child.
Stepparents: If a stepparent has developed a close relationship with a child and the biological parent is no longer involved in the child's life, the stepparent may be able to seek custody.
Other Individuals: In some cases, non-relatives, such as family friends or foster parents, may be able to seek custody if they can show that it is in the best interests of the child.
Nonparent custody can typically be established through the court system. The nonparent seeking custody must typically file a petition with the court, and a hearing will be held to determine whether nonparent custody is in the best interests of the child. Courts will consider a variety of factors when making a decision about nonparent custody, including the child's relationship with the nonparent, the child's current living situation, the child's emotional and physical needs, and the ability of the nonparent to provide a stable and safe environment for the child. The court may also consider the wishes of the child, depending on the child's age and maturity.
If the court grants nonparent custody, the nonparent will typically have legal and physical custody of the child, meaning they will have the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing and daily care, as well as the right to provide a home for the child. The nonparent may also be required to provide financial support for the child.
The length of nonparent custody depends on various factors including where the custody order was issued and the specific circumstances of the case. In some cases, nonparent custody may be temporary and may end when the child's parent or legal guardian is able to resume care. In other cases, nonparent custody may be long-term or permanent, particularly, if the parent or legal guardian is deemed unfit or unable to care for the child. Custody arrangements can get modified if circumstances change, such as if a parent's situation improves or deteriorates. Generally, the duration of nonparent custody will depend on the unique circumstances of each case.
Provisional custody by mandate and nonparent custody are two different legal concepts that can apply in different situations involving a child's care and custody.
Provisional custody by mandate is a legal mechanism that allows a parent or legal guardian of a child to temporarily transfer custody of the child to another person, typically a family member or close friend, for a period of up to one year. This transfer of custody is done through a written agreement, which must be signed by both the parent or legal guardian and the person assuming custody. Provisional custody by mandate is often used in situations where a parent or legal guardian is unable to care for a child due to illness, military deployment, or other reasons.
Nonparent custody, on the other hand, is a legal concept that allows a non-parent, such as a grandparent or other family member, to seek custody of a child in certain situations. Nonparent custody may be sought in cases where a child's parents are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care for the child, such as in cases of abuse, neglect, or substance abuse.
To obtain nonparent custody in Louisiana, the nonparent must show that they have a significant and substantial relationship with the child and that it would be in the child's best interests for them to have custody. The nonparent must also show that the child's parents are unfit or unable to provide adequate care for the child.
If you want to learn more about provisional custody by mandate visit this resource here.
A nonparent seeking visitation rights may ask the court to grant visitation rights to a grandparent or other relative if the child's parent has unreasonably denied the nonparent access to the child. The court may also grant visitation rights if the child's parent has died, or if the child was born out of marriage and paternity has been established.
To be granted visitation, the grandparent or other relative must show that:
- The child's parent has unreasonably denied or restricted visitation;
- Visitation is in the best interests of the child;
- The grandparent or other relative has a significant and ongoing relationship with the child; and
- The visitation will not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
The court will consider various factors when determining whether visitation is in the best interests of the child, including the child's age and needs, the relationship between the child and the grandparent or other relative, the impact of visitation on the child's daily routine and school schedule, and any other relevant factors.
What You Need To Know
Nonparent visitation may be available to a variety of individuals who have a significant relationship with the child, and who can demonstrate that visitation is in the best interests of the child. This can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, stepparents, and other relatives, as well as individuals who have acted as a caregiver to the child. Nonparent visitation is not an automatic right, and eligibility for visitation will depend on the specific facts of each case.
Nonparent visitation can typically get established through the court system. The nonparent seeking visitation rights would need to file a petition with the appropriate court and provide evidence supporting their request for visitation.
The court will consider various factors, including the best interests of the child, the nature and extent of the relationship between the nonparent and the child, and any potential impact on the child's relationship with their parent or legal guardian. If the court determines that visitation with the nonparent is in the best interests of the child, it may grant visitation rights and establish a visitation schedule.
The duration of nonparent visitation orders can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the court where the order was issued. In most cases, nonparent visitation orders will last until the child reaches the age of majority (18 years old) or until the order is modified or terminated by the court.
Nonparent visitation orders can also be temporary, meaning they may only last for a specified period of time or until a certain condition is met, such as until the child reaches a certain age, the parents reunite, or the nonparent's living situation changes.
Nonparent visitation orders can be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as if the child's best interests require a change in the visitation schedule or the nonparent's behavior or living situation has changed in a way that would affect the child's well-being.
Court-Ordered Kinship Custody
About Court-Ordered Kinship Custody
When a child is removed from their home by the state, the court may consider granting custody to a suitable person who can be a relative or close family friend who has a pre-existing relationship with the child. This is known as kingship care or fictive kinship care.
The court will evaluate the proposed kinship caregiver's ability to provide a safe and stable home for the child and may require that they undergo a background check, home study, and other assessments to ensure that the child's best interests are being served. The kinship caregiver will assume legal responsibility for the child's care and well-being and may be eligible for financial assistance and other support services from the state.
Kinship care is often preferred over placement in foster care because it allows the child to remain within their existing social network and cultural community, which can help to minimize the trauma and disruption caused by removal from their home. Additionally, kinship caregivers are often better equipped to meet the child's emotional and behavioral needs because of their pre-existing relationship with the child.
What You Need To Know
A kinship custody caregiver is a relative or close family friend who is granted legal custody or guardianship of a child when the child's parents are unable or unwilling to care for them. Generally, the caregiver must be a responsible and stable adult who is willing and able to provide a safe and stable home for the child.
Some common examples of kinship caregivers include grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings, and close family friends. In many cases, kinship caregivers are chosen because they have an existing relationship with the child and can provide a sense of stability and continuity during a difficult time.
In cases where the court has determined that a child cannot return to the care of their parents, but also finds that it is not necessary for the child to be in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the court may consider placing the child with a suitable relative or kinship caregiver.
The court typically gives preference to placing the child with a relative, as it is generally considered to be in the best interest of the child to maintain family connections and to be placed with someone who is familiar with their cultural and familial background. The court will evaluate the relative's ability to provide a safe and appropriate home for the child, including their ability to meet the child's physical, emotional, and educational needs.
If the court determines that the relative or kinship caregiver is suitable to provide care for the child, they may grant custody or guardianship to that person, with the goal of providing a stable and secure home environment for the child. The relative or kinship caregiver will be responsible for meeting the child's needs, making decisions about the child's education and healthcare, and ensuring the child's safety and well-being.
After a child has been removed from their home, the court will typically hold a series of hearings to determine the best course of action for the child. At the first hearing, the judge may grant temporary custody to a relative or kinship caregiver if it is determined to be in the child's best interest.
Subsequent hearings will involve a more in-depth evaluation of the child's situation and may involve assessments from social workers, mental health professionals, and other experts. The court will ultimately determine whether the child is a Child in Need of Care (CINC), which means that the child requires protection and intervention due to abuse, neglect, or other factors that may be endangering their well-being.
Once the court has determined that the child is a CINC, the court will consider options for long-term custody, which may include placement with a relative or kinship caregiver. The court will evaluate the relative or kinship caregiver's ability to provide a safe and stable home for the child and will consider factors such as the caregiver's relationship with the child.
Kinship custody is designed to be a temporary arrangement until the child can be reunited with their parents or adopted by another family. However, in some cases, a child may remain in kinship custody until they reach the age of 18.