Third-Party Custody proceedings are sensitive matters because they often allege neglect or mistreatment by the childís parent or parents. In situations where parents are unable to care adequately for their child, other family members or close friends may be caring for the child or want to step in to care for the child. Non-parents, and the government through juvenile protection proceedings, can move for third-party custody if they believe it would be in the childís best interests for someone other than the parent to obtain custody.

The process begins when a Summons and Third Party Custody Petition is personally served on the parents and/or all interested parties. If you believe it is an emergency situation and the child is in need of an immediate change of custody, you may petition the court for an emergency hearing. The court will determine a third-party custody matter by analyzing what is in the best interests of the child.