To pursue rights as a third party, there must be either a relationship including the fulfillment of traditional parental duties or a continuous long-term visitation or contact arrangement. Because of constitutional constraints, the laws generally favor the legal parents in contests involved third parties (non-parents). The legal and evidentiary burdens on a third party are significant and to prevail, there must first be a determination that the legal parents are not acting in the child’s best interests. There are both factual and time-based criteria that must be satisfied as preliminary steps in the court’s analysis.
The lawyers at Gearing Rackner & McGrath have successfully represented clients on both ends of the spectrum. We can provide advice and, if necessary, effective advocacy to protect your legal rights in a contested third party custody or visitation proceeding.
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If you need guidance to pursue your rights as a grandparent, relative, or non-parent, our firm’s award-winning attorneys can assist you with each step in the process. Call us at 503.222.9116 or write to us to learn more about how we can help you.