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Non-Parent Custody in Spokane

Custody Disputes Between Parents & a Third Party

Non-parent custody disputes generally involve a biological parent or parents and another party. The other party in these disputes is often a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or another close relative. At the Law Office of Benjamin D. Platt, our non-parent custody attorney in Spokane represents the best interests of our clients and the children involved in these types of custody disputes.

If you need advice about a non-parent custody dispute, please call (509) 571-2277 to speak with our attorney in a free consultation.

When Non-Parent Custody is Granted

Generally, family courts in Washington State will not grant non-parental custody to a third party over the objections of the natural parent. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the parent is unfit or placement with the parent would be detrimental to the child’s growth and development, it is possible for a non-parent to be awarded custody.

Non-parent custody may be awarded in situations, such as:

  • Parental drug addiction
  • When a parent is in jail
  • Parental abandonment of the child
  • As an alternative to placement in foster care

It is necessary to establish adequate cause when filing for non-parent custody. This requires that the petitioner to set forth allegations or evidence that will establish that the parent is not fit to care for the child. The courts will often not give weight to testimony from a third party as it is considered hearsay. However, arrest records, declarations from parties with personal knowledge, photographs, and social media posts can be used as evidence.

A Higher Burden of Proof

In custody disputes between a parent and non-parent, the parent has constitutionally protected rights. In order to prevail in a custody case, the non-parent must demonstrate that the unfitness of the parent outweighs the normal parental rights. Due to the complexities of these situations and a higher burden of proof on non-parents, hiring an experienced Spokane non-parent custody lawyer is essential.

Contact our family law firm at (509) 571-2277 to discuss your situation with our attorney.

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