Skip to Content

Extraordinary Circumstances in Child Custody Cases

Are You Filing for Child Custody as a Nonparent?

Anyone who plays a significant role in a child’s life may petition the court for custody, even if they’re not the parent. This can occur in cases where one parent has sole physical and legal custody of their children because the other parent is essentially out of the picture. As such, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives are granted child custody over the noncustodial biological parent only if “extraordinary circumstances” exist. Extraordinary circumstances must exist because, if you think about it, a judge has to decide whether a child will be in the custody of their parent or a nonparent, which can have life-altering impacts for the child.

As such, the presence of extraordinary circumstances is not the only factor judges consider in child custody cases. Once they determine that extraordinary circumstances exist, judges must then consider what is in the child’s best interests. After they evaluate all the key factors in a given child custody case, a judge will either grant or deny child custody to a parent or nonparent.

With this information in mind, let’s review some examples of extraordinary circumstances. They include, but are not limited to:

  • A parent neglects or abuses the child
  • Abandonment of the child
  • A parent surrenders their rights to the child
  • A parent is incarcerated
  • A parent is unfit in their role
  • Disruption of custody for a long period of time
  • Other serious acts that may affect the child’s wellbeing

A family court judge will strongly consider the above factors when determining whether a nonparent will get child custody. However, they may also use their discretion in deciding what constitutes extraordinary circumstances in a particular case, therefore you must be mindful that “checking all the boxes” does not guarantee you will get child custody as a nonparent.

Need Legal Help? You Know Who to Call.

However, to increase your chances of achieving custody of a minor who is not your biological child, you should hire our Orange County family attorneys at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC. With 75 years of combined experience, we have the insights and competence required to help you petition for child custody of a minor who is not your biological child. Our team understands that choosing to embark on this process is a significant decision for you and the child of interest, therefore we will guide you every step of the way and provide the honest, strategic legal counsel you need and deserve.

Learn more about your legal options by contacting us online or at (845) 605-4330!