Custody disputes are difficult enough without adding in a grandparent or foster parent challenging you for custody. Although rare, Michigan does allow for third parties to assert custody over a child. This article will go over the requirements for the court to permit that procedure and how it could impact your custody dispute.
A third party is any person that is not one of the parents. So this includes siblings, grandparents and foster parents. Any one of these third parties could act as a limited guardian for the child. A limited guardian does have standing to bring a custody action. However, that action can be prevented if one or both of the parents have complied with the judge's orders. The judge's orders will depend upon the situation but it can include mandatory counseling, treatment or support.
Generally, a third party must establish the following factors to win custody over a child:
- The child was placed for adoption with the third party.
- The child lived with the foster family for at least six months.
- The third person is related to the child within five degrees of either by blood, marriage or adoption.
- The biological parents were never married.
- Finally, the custodial parent is missing and the other parent was not granted custody orders.
If you are engaged in a custody dispute over your child, then you may want to contact a lawyer for assistance. The court, in general, loathes removing children from their parent's custody. However, as illustrated above, it does happen. The best way to keep custody of your child is to do your best to comply with the judge's orders. An attorney can help you do that.