In any family law case in which the custody of a child is at issue, the court’s foremost concern is to develop an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. While typically custody will be divided between a child’s biological or legal parents, in some cases the court will find that it is beneficial for a child to grant a third-party custody rights. In a recent case ruled on by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth District of California, in which the ex-boyfriend of a child’s mother sought visitation, the court discussed when it is appropriate to grant a third-party custody rights. If you are involved in a custody dispute with your child’s co-parent or any other party, it is critical to retain a seasoned California child custody attorney to fight to help you maintain your custody rights and seek an arrangement that is in your child’s best interest.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that in July 2017, mother was arrested for driving under the influence and her two minor children were taken into protective custody. The plaintiff lived with the mother and both children from October 2016 through March 2017 and was the father of the younger of the two children. The plaintiff indicated during a dependency hearing that he wished to be designated as the presumed parent of the older child. At a subsequent hearing, the court found that both mother and the plaintiff had behavioral and substance abuse issues and named both children to be dependents of the court. The court also granted the plaintiff supervised visits with the younger child and mother supervised visits with both children.
Allegedly, the children were later moved from foster care into the home of their grandmother. The plaintiff subsequently petitioned the court to be recognized as the presumed parent of the older child, which the court denied. The plaintiff then requested visitation with the older child. Mother opposed the petition, arguing the older child was doing fine without seeing the plaintiff and that the sibling bond between the two children did not suffer due to the fact that the plaintiff only had access to one child. The court found that a bond existed between the plaintiff and the older child, and granted the plaintiff visitation rights. The mother appealed.