In custody cases, there is a long-standing presumption that awarding custody to parents is best for a child’s well-being. However, this is not always the case. Although it is not the norm, bestowing custody rights to a nonparent can sometimes be the right decision for the child’s welfare.
In Texas, individuals can seek custody over a child not their own under certain circumstances.
Who can initiate a nonparent custody petition?
While the state allows nonparents to file for custody, the petitioner must have standing to initiate the case. This means that they must have a relationship or connection with the child. Usually, it is a child’s grandparents or relative who participates in the petition. However, it can also be others worried about the child’s welfare.
How will the parents’ response affect the petition?
The state provides separate procedures depending on whether the child’s parents agree to the nonparent’s petition or if they contest it. If a parent defaults or fails to respond to the notice, the same process for when parents agree applies.
Accordingly, contested petitions are likely to be longer since both parties would have to make their case in court why it is or it is not in the child’s best interests to be placed under the petitioning nonparent’s custody. Ultimately, the judge will decide based on the factors available.
Breaking through age-old beliefs
It is true that parents generally play a vital role in a child growth and development. However, we should not dismiss the possibility that having a nonparent custodian may be the best for their well-being.
Breaking the societal bias on how significant parental ties in custody cases are is a difficult challenge for a nonparent. Nonetheless, this should not hamper the need to put the child’s best interests as top priority. If you are looking into filing a petition for custody as a nonparent, having adequate resources and competent legal aid can help you achieve your goal.