Can Non-Biological Parents Retain Custody?
For traditional families, the connection each parent has to their biological children is clearly and soundly protected by the law. However, for many modern families, the legal standing of an established parent-child connection may not be quite as secure.
The law favors traditional family arrangements that clearly define parenthood according to biological standards. As society becomes more inclusive, the law adapts. The courts have been known to side with non-traditional parents despite the lack of a biological link. However, non-biological parents often must prove that they are entitled to parental rights and that the child they raised belongs with them.
For many couples, the intense desire to become a parent is obstructed by reproductive issues that compel them to create their families using a surrogate, a sperm donor, or in-vitro fertilization of a donated egg. In families with LGBT parents, each child may have a biological connection to only one of their parents. For blended families in which one or both of the parents enter a marriage with children, family ties can be complicated. For foster parents and other caregivers, the responsibilities of parenthood often are undertaken in an effort to provide for a child who joins their family unexpectedly.
Scenarios That May Require Legal Intervention
Many people trust that their families will stay intact and that their connection to their children will not require outside validation. However, unexpected things happen, and it is best to protect your family from them. What happens after the untimely death of the biological parent? What if a stepmother’s husband dies and her child’s biological mother wants the child back? Families should consider the possibility of such unforeseeable circumstances and make arrangements to protect their children from the uncertainties that present themselves when family connections are not legally clear.
Adoption Preserves Rights
The best way for non-biologicals parent to preserve their parental rights is to formally adopt their child. In cases of divorce, non-biological parents who adopt their children have an easier time claiming custody or visitation rights. When the biological parent dies, adoption protects the non-biological parent from the possibility of losing their parental rights to relatives with a biological connection.
When it comes to custody, the court’s main concern is the best interest of the child. If you lack a biological link to your child and you have not gone through the process to formally adopt your child, you may need to jump through some legal hoops to prove your status as the child’s primary caregiver, but with the right help, it can be done.
Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Non-Biological Parents Seeking Parental Rights
If you are a non-biological parent seeking custody of a child, the experienced Somerville child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help you present a solid case regarding the best interest of the child. Call 908-575-9777 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we represent clients in Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.