Third-party custody

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In some custody situations, it is possible that the child/children will not remain with either of their natural, biological, parents, but instead custody is awarded to a third person.[1] Generally speaking, third-party custody occurs when one of two options occur:[1]

  • The biological parents do not want custody of the child/children.[1]
  • The biological parents are incapable of caring for the child/children.[1]

Voluntary relinquishment[edit]

Occasionally, parents will agree to allow an adult (who is not either of the two parents) to raise their child/children.[1] Generally, if either parent changes his/her mind later in the child's life, he/she has the option to seek custody at that point.[1]

Unfit parents[edit]

Custody may be awarded to a third adult (who is not either of the two parents) because the parents both seemed unfit to do so.[1] Reasons that the court would retain authority over the child/children and later award custody to a third adult include:[1]

  • Child abuse/neglect.[1]
  • Substance abuse.[1]
  • Deliberate desertion/abandonment of the child/children.[1]
  • Inability to provide an adequate income which is necessary for the raising of a child.[1]

Other forms of custody[edit]

  • Alternating custody is an arrangement whereby the child/children live for an extended period of time with one parent, and then for a similar amount of time with the other parent. While the child/children are with the parent, that parent retains sole authority over the child/children.
  • Bird's nest custody is an arrangement whereby the parents go back and forth from a residence in which the child/children reside, placing the burden of upheaval and movement on the parents rather than the child/children.
  • Joint custody is an arrangement whereby both parents have legal custody and/or both parents have physical custody.
  • Sole custody is an arrangement whereby only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child.
  • Split custody is an arrangement whereby one parent has full-time custody over some children, and the other parent has full custody over the other children.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Webster Watnik (April 2003). Child Custody Made Simple: Understanding the Laws of Child Custody and Child Support. Single Parent Press. pp. 16–38. ISBN 978-0-9649404-3-7. Retrieved 25 September 2011.