Something that is very common when it comes to divorce or custody cases is when an individual who is not related to a child by blood becomes the person who is taking care of the child the most. For example, here is a common scenario:
Parent A, we’ll call him Tom, starts dating someone new. We’ll call her Sally. Tom has three children with parent B. We’ll call her Jane. Jane is not heavily involved in her children’s lives. She sees them occasionally, but very rarely, and does not have custody. Sally is very involved in their lives; she takes them to their baseball games, gymnastics practices, and even their doctor’s appointments when Tom is not able to. The kids love Sally, and Sally loves them. However, after years of dating, Tom and Sally decide to part ways. Sally does not want to simply step out of Tom’s children’s lives, though. She met them when they were young and feels like she played a huge part in raising them, stepping up when their biological mother did not. Does Sally have any rights in this situation even though she is not related to them by blood?
In this case, something called the “Equitable Caregiver Act” would come into play. It gives judges broad discretion in what is in the best interest of the child. So, it would give them the ability to grant visitation or even custody to a third-party caregiver.
The Equitable Caregiver Act can be a complicated issue to deal with. If you’re unsure that your situation qualifies, call Brown, Dutton & Crider to schedule a consultation today!
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