How to Get Custody When You Aren’t the Biological Parent

Generally most people think about child custody issues in the context of two divorcing parents. However, there are other circumstances giving rise to custody situations that are becoming more common place. That is custody claims by people who are not the biological parents.

The most common situation in which this fact arises is usually where one or both of the biological parents are unable or unwilling to care for a child and another family member takes the child (think of a drug parent and a grandparent taking custody). If there is a non biological parent who seeks custody over a biological parent the first thing to consider is under what law should the case proceed? There are multiple options.

For example, custody by a non-biological parent can occur under the children’s code for an adoption, for abuse/neglect or under the Kinship Guardianship Act or even under the Uniform Parentage Act. These are just some of the laws that open the door to third party non-biological caregivers can seek custody over a biological parent. After choosing the type of law to proceed under you next need to consider the legal burden that you must prove.

In a general sense there is a heightened requirement for a third party to seek custody over a biological parent. Instead of simply considering the best interests of the child, the court will also require a heightened standard of proving that the biological parent is unable or unwilling to care for the child and/or the existence of additional extraordinary circumstances. To learn more about winning custody over a biological parent contact our custody experts at or call us at 505-880-8737.