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Can Non-Biological Parents Be Granted Custody?

August 21, 2019

Delaware County Child Custody Lawyers answer the question, can non-biological parents be granted custody?When it comes to child custody, there is no question that biological parents’ rights generally trump those of non-biological parents, such as stepparents. However, that does not mean non-biological parents are never granted custody. A court decides each custody situation on its merits, and there are times when a non-biological parent will receive custody over a biological parent. Circumstances in which a court might award custody to a non-biological parent include:

  • Unfitness of biological parent
  • Unavailability of biological parent pertaining to desertion, incarceration, or other factors
  • Awarding custody to biological parent would not be in the child’s best interests

Adoption and Non-Biological Parents

When a child is legally adopted by non-biological parents, the situation differs. A finalized adoption confers the same legal rights on the adoptive parents as if the child were their biological offspring. In a legal adoption, the biological parents have consented to have their parental rights terminated. It is rare for a state to revoke the biological parent’s adoption consent, and if this does occur, it is only done in extreme circumstances.

Gay and Lesbian Parents

When gay or lesbian parents decide to have children, an outside party is necessary either as a surrogate or sperm donor. One parent is biological, while the other is not. When same sex couples divorce or separate, or the biological parent dies, states have ruled that the non-biological parent has standing for custody or visitation rights, if the parties clearly agreed to raise the child together. However, the law varies by state, and it always wise for the non-biological parent in a same-sex marriage or relationship to legally adopt the child.

Reproductive Technologies

Same-sex couples are far from the only people using reproductive technologies to conceive children. When sperm and egg donors are used, there is always the possibility that a donor could sue for parental rights.

Stepparents and Custody

Many stepparents play critical roles in the lives of their stepchildren. If the couple divorces, the biological parents have custody. There are situations in which the stepparent may seek custody and obtain it, but that is generally because one of the biological parents is deceased, incarcerated, or otherwise unable to care for the child, and living with the other biological parent is deemed by the court as not in the child’s best interests.

Delaware County Child Custody Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients in Child Custody Battles

If you are going through a child custody battle, you need the services of the experienced Delaware County child custody lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Laws involving non-biological parents are complex and legal expertise is needed. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Chester County, Montgomery County, and Delaware County.

A Message to Our Customers About Coronavirus COVID-19:
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A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:

We want to assure everyone that during this unprecedented and difficult time, we are still operating and will continue to meet all the legal needs of the residents of the Delaware Valley. While the Governor’s recent orders have restricted the operations of some businesses, Eckell Sparks has deployed a variety of applications and hardware that allows both our attorneys and our support staff to confer with clients remotely, provide consultations to those seeking legal advice, and continue to provide the high level of legal services to our clients as we have always done. For more than 50 years, our Firm has been a force in the Delaware Valley legal community. And by now also leveraging technology, we will continue to do so both during, and after, the current public health emergency.

So, if you need us, we are here. Are you an employer and don’t know what to do under all the new Corona-virus laws being passed in Washington? Were you injured in a car accident either before, or during, the current crisis? Call or email us. We can help. www.eckellsparks.com 610-565-3700.

Stay safe out there.