Third-Party Custody in the State of Indiana
It is a principally-held belief of our system of law that parents are entitled to exercise control over their children. This right is not absolute, however, and it may be revoked when the court deems it in the best interest of the children. In that case, a third party may apply for guardianship of a child gaining both legal and physical custody of the child. Below, we will discuss the process of third-party adoption in Indiana.
Guardianship vs. Custody
In Indiana, there are two types of custody — physical and legal. Physical custody means that a child resides with a guardian in his or her home. Legal custody means that the guardian is granted power of attorney over the minor. Guardianship is simply a term for custody when used to describe someone who is not a parent.
As an example, a child may go off to live with a grandparent, aunt, or uncle if neither parent is able to provide custody.
There are two conditions under which a third party can apply for custody of a child. Those are when both parents are dead or neither parent is fit to care for the child. If the latter is true, then a hearing must be scheduled during which the third party will provide reasons to the court why the biological parents are unfit. But the court will generally presume that the child’s best interests involve staying with the child’s parents. The court will not award custody to a third party without a good reason.
When both parents are dead, the court generally appoints a guardian during the probate process. When both parents are unwilling or unfit to raise their children, they often relinquish custody voluntarily. However, when they fight the transfer of custody, a family law attorney can help potential third-party guardians.
Ultimately, the court will render a decision considering the best interests of the child. They will consult with child psychologists, friends, and family of the children to make a determination on the fitness of parents. Having an attorney represent your interests in this matter can help you secure a favorable verdict.
Third-Party Custody in Indiana
If you are interested in taking custody of a family member’s child or becoming a guardian for the child of a close friend, the attorneys at The Bellinger Law Office can advocate on your behalf and argue why the children need to be separated from their parents. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.