Agreeably, the best place for a child to grow up in, is a home with both parents. However, it is not always the case because sometimes, the homes are unfavorable for children to live in. In such instances, non-parents, including grandparents, could be allowed to live with the minors.
The process though is quite complex because of the high standards
of proof attached to matters involving minors. But with the guidance of dedicated Orange County family law attorneys, you can overcome most challenges and get favorable outcomes in the case.
Under What Circumstances Can the Court Grant Grandparents Custody?
The court limits the instances that it can give grandparents custody because it prefers children staying with their parents. And the legal battle is even tougher when both of the child’s parents are alive and married.
It is easier to win a custody battle if both parents are unfit to care for the minor. But if only one parent is unfit, the court might prefer granting the fit parent custody over the grandparent. However, you might have an advantage if the fit parent cannot take responsibility.
What Should a Grandparent Prove to Get Custody?
Grandparents seeking custody of their grandchildren in Orange County have a high burden of proof. So, the moment you notice that your grandchild is not well taken care of, you better start gathering pieces of evidence to use in your petition. You need to show that:
- The parents are neglecting the minor
- There is a drug and/or alcohol abuse in the child’s home
Proof of any of the above can aid your case. And if both are happening at the same time, your case could be much stronger. Experienced Orange County grandparent’s rights lawyers can advise you on the types of evidence to collect.
How Does California Define an Unfit Parent?
California is very specific about its definition of an unfit parent. While you might bring evidence showing that the child’s well-being is compromised, the judge could go the extra mile. He/she might order a 730 child custody evaluation, where the evaluator seeks to find out whether:
- The parents can provide a safe, clean living environment, and adequate clothing and food for the child
- The child gets dental and medical care
- There is a history of abandonment or neglect
- A parent has a history of instability or mental illness
- The child feels their parent is unfit
- The parent is adequately involved in the child’s life
- The parent understands the child’s needs and takes care of them
- The parent handles conflicts involving the child properly
- The parent sets beneficial restrictions for TV shows, bedtime, and age-appropriate activities
The evaluator’s report and recommendations on the above factors can significantly impact the judge’s decision to give custody to non-parents. Speak to experienced Orange County grandparent’s rights attorneys, and they will come up with ways of ensuring that you are the first person the judge considers awarding custody of the minor.
What Happens When the Parents Named Another Person as the Guardian?
Just because another person was named the child’s guardian shouldn’t discourage you from seeking custody of your grandchild. It might be challenging to convince the court to let you have custody in such circumstances, but a skilled Orange County grandparent’s rights lawyer might help.
You could begin by petitioning for visitation to prove how invested you are in spending time with them. The judge needs to see that you are the best person to take care of your grandchild, and they might not hesitate to grant you custody.
What Types of Custody Can Grandparents Get in Orange County?
If you strongly feel like you would be the best person to care for your grandchildren, you can petition in two different ways.
Guardianship in Lieu of Non-Parent Custody
This is the easiest way to acquire custody of your grandchild in California. It involves getting the child’s parents to give you written guardianship consent. Notably, both parents must agree to it. If one parent opposes guardianship, you might have to apply for non-parent custody instead.
Non-Parent Third-Party Child Custody
When applying for this type of custody, you must be as detailed as possible. If they are alive, you also have to formally notify all interested parties, including guardians and the child’s parents. The petition should show that:
- The parents are separated, divorced, undergoing a divorce, or one of them is deceased
- The arrangement is best for the child
- The child will not suffer harm in your custody
- Your long-standing relationship with the child is sufficient to foster a parent-like custody arrangement
Since biological rights are taken seriously, your petition should be very convincing to win a non-parent custody battle.
What Will the Judge Consider When Awarding Grandparents Custody?
Once the judge is convinced that the parents are unfit to take care of your grandchild, they might not automatically grant you custody. They have to also evaluate how fit you are to take on the parental responsibilities over the child in Orange County. They could look at:
- Any history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any other persons living in your home
- The child’s financial, emotional, and physical needs
- Your mental, physical, and financial ability to provide for the child’s needs
Custody might be awarded to other non-parents if you are unable to prove your ability to adequately take care of your grandchild. A seasoned Orange County grandparent’s rights lawyer can prepare convincing arguments to show the court that you are fit to get custody of your grandchildren.
Compassionate Family Lawyers Providing Excellent Legal Representation
Family courts are very keen when awarding custody to anyone, especially non-parents. It is imperative that you convince the judge that your grandchild will be safe and have their needs taken care of in your custody.
Our attorneys can help you source the right pieces of evidence to back up your strong arguments. Speak to us today for a free 30-minute case evaluation in California.