Custody for Grandparents and Other Non-Parents
In all too many situations in California, children are living in homes where they are unable to receive the emotional and financial support they need from their biological parents, due to any number of situations including the death of one or more parents, incarceration, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other issues leading to neglect of the child. In such situations, a grandparent or other person in the child’s life may seek to gain custody of the child pursuant to a California family law court order. While California courts do seek to honor the best interests of the child, grandparents and other non-parents will generally need to make a strong showing to the court justifying their potential role as the child’s guardian to win custody. But help is available to do just that.
Winning Custody as a Grandparent or Other Adult in CA
California law always gives a preference toward a biological parent in making a custody order, but, at the same time, if the court determines that neither parent is currently in a position to serve as a fit parent, the law will then give a custody preference to, in descending order:
- The person or persons in whose home the child has been living in a wholesome and stable environment
- Any other person or persons deemed by the court to be suitable and able to provide adequate and proper care and guidance for the child
Thus, a grandparent or other adult seeking custody will have to present arguments to a California court on two issues: 1) why the parents are not able to serve as fit parents (this is not an issue when the parents are deceased or have voluntarily relinquished their right to parent the child), and 2) why the best interests of the child would be served by having you as a grandparent or other adult in the child’s life take custody. Factors that California courts consider in this best interests analysis include:
- The needs of the child
- Your living situation (including who else lives in the household)
- Your income and ability to provide for the child
- Your ability to provide for the medical and educational needs of the child
- Your ability to provide for a stable living environment
When you work with our family law team, we will take care of all the procedural requirements for gaining custody and present your best arguments to the court for why custody should be placed with you as a grandparent or other caring adult.
Resolve Your Child Custody Issues With Experienced Family Law Attorneys
The family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, APLC, have many years of experience representing parents and children in child custody matters, and are dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcomes for their clients. To schedule a consultation regarding your child custody matter, contact our offices today.