The issue of child custody is typically a primary concern for most parents during the divorce process. In many cases, a determination regarding child custody and child visitation can cause long and adversarial conflicts between the spouses. There are certain circumstances under which a court would make the rare determination that a child should be removed from the custody of both parents and placed with a relative. Learn more about when a court may make this decision and how to ensure your legal rights remain protected.

Child Custody Matters and the Divorce Process

First, it is important to note that courts do not generally give custody of children over to someone other than the parent. There must be serious and grave circumstances before that decision would be made against a parent’s wishes. However, that said, there are circumstances in which a court would make the decision that it is against the best interests of the child to stay in the custody of either parent. In these rare circumstances, the court may make the decision to place a child with a relative so that they do not have to enter the foster system.

The decision to place a child with a relative can occur because of the serious drug use of the parents, placement in jail or prison, abandonment of a child, or illegal activity of the parent. The court will typically not make this determination capriciously, but rather rely on the recommendation given by a guardian ad litem.

A guardian ad litem is a person who is appointed by the court and is a neutral third party. He or she will conduct an independent investigation into the home lives of both parents in order to determine whether or not it is in the best interest of the child to stay in the custody of either parent.

Relative Caregivers

Again, it is only under serious and grave circumstances that a court will make the determination to place a child in the custody of a relative instead of directly with the parent. In some cases, this decision may become permanent.

However, it is still important to note that even if a court awards custody of a child to a relative, the parent may still have visitation rights and can still develop a connection and communication with the child. These determinations will be made on an individual basis and relate to the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Visiting with an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your parental rights throughout the divorce process. Contact an experienced divorce attorney at Giro Law at 201-690-1642 to ensure your custody rights are protected under the law.

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