It is becoming increasingly common for many families to follow a non-traditional family structure. Some families may have more parental figures with an active role in their lives other than just Mom and Dad, especially in a separation situation. These parental figures can become actively involved and can develop a loving, supportive relationship with the children so much so that they wish to have the same standing as a biological parent.
In the case of, V.C. v. M.J.B., 163 NJ 200, cert. denied, 531 US 926, 121 S.Ct. 302, 148 L.Ed.2d 243 (2000), the Court established a four-prong test for determining whether someone is a psychological parent. The individual seeking psychological parent status must show:
(1) the legal parent consented to and fostered the relationship between Plaintiff and the child;
(2) Plaintiff lived with the child;
(3) Plaintiff performed parental functions for the child to a significant degree; and
(4) a parent-child bond has been forged. Ibid.
As you can see, a third party seeking to assert themselves as a psychological parent is a common area of family law litigation in the State of New Jersey. For more information regarding the issue of third parties seeking to be recognized as a parent contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates. At the law office of Lyons & Associates, we represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.
Written by: Marissa DelMauro, Esq.