Everything You Need to Know About Third-Party Custody in Michigan
Custody is a critical matter, as it can greatly affect a child and their future. In Michigan, third parties are allowed to get custody if a minor’s biological parents cannot properly care for their child.
A qualified child custody attorney can help you with your third-party custody matter.
What Is Third-Party Custody?
Under Michigan law, anyone who is not a biological parent is considered to be a third party. Therefore, third-party custody refers to an individual who is not a child’s biological parent getting custody.
You may petition the court for third-party custody if the child’s biological parents can no longer take care of their child under certain circumstances, including:
- Domestic violence
- Substance abuse
- Illness or disability
If you wish to pursue third-party custody, it’s important to speak with a child custody lawyer. Getting third-party custody in Michigan can be challenging, but an experienced attorney can determine how best to pursue custody.
Who Could Get Third-Party Custody?
While the term “third party” is broad, it does not mean just anyone can get custody. In Michigan, only certain parties are allowed to get custody of a minor child, including:
- Aunts and uncles
- Adult siblings
- Other relatives
Under Michigan law, individuals who wish to petition the court for third-party custody must fall into one of the following categories:
- A guardian or a limited guardian appointed by the probate court
- A third party with whom the child was placed for adoption
- A party related to the child “within the fifth degree by marriage, blood or adoption”
The party petitioning for third-party custody is not always related to the child but could instead be a close family friend or someone the child has strong emotional ties with.
In the end, the court has the discretion to do what is best for the child based on the circumstances.
Third-Party Custody: Doing What Is in the Child’s Best Interests
A “child’s best interests” is the standard most states use when determining important child-related topics, like custody. Before granting a third party custody of a child, a judge must thoroughly review several factors, which could include:
- The relationship the child has with the party petitioning for custody
- The party’s ability to provide for the child
- The party’s physical and mental health
- Their willingness to encourage the child’s relationship with their biological parents, if possible and appropriate
Based on these and other details, the judge can decide whether the petitioning party would be well-suited to care for the child-long term.
Can the Child Decide Who Gets Third-Party Custody?
When making child custody determinations, it is common to wonder whether a child gets a say in their own custody arrangement. However, in Michigan, a child cannot make the decision for themselves until they reach the age of 18.
Still, depending on the child’s age, a judge may consider their preferences.
Discuss Your Case with a Custody Attorney in Michigan
Consult a skilled child custody attorney if you want to pursue third-party custody.
The legal team at Gucciardo Family Law has years of experience helping clients resolve their child custody matters. We’re dedicated to doing what is best for the children and guiding clients toward a favorable outcome. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with a child custody attorney.
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