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Spokane Third Party Custody Attorney

Third-party custody rights are well-established in Washington. However, because they are not a child's parents, third parties such as grandparents, other family, and friends face challenges when seeking custody and need an experienced third-party attorney to fight for them.
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Non-Parent Custody Lawyers in Spokane, WA

Hodgson Law Office represents third parties when a child's biological parents are no longer capable of acting in the best interests of the child. We help our clients take care of children in need by fighting for third-party custody for them. Whether you are a grandparent, cousin, or friend, if you are involved in a third-party custody situation, or any other family law matter, Hodgson Law is ready to listen and help.

What Is Third-Party Custody in Washington State?

Third-party custody refers to the custody of a child by a child's non-biological parents. Under normal circumstances, the law considers a child's biological parents to be the most appropriate parties to have custody of the child. However, when the parents or their circumstances represent a great enough threat to a child's growth and development, a third party can seek custody of the child.

When Would the Courts Grant Custody to a Third Party?

Third parties seeking custody of another's child must ultimately demonstrate that granting them custody would be in the best interests of the child. One way to accomplish this is by identifying dangerous parental behavior or parenting circumstances, such as:

  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Neglect
  • Parental addiction
  • Child abandonment
  • Insufficient resources to provide for a child

Keep in mind that the courts do not grant custody to just anyone. When a child's welfare is at stake, judges will consider a third-party custody action only from parties who have an established relationship with the child. In many cases, the party will be a relative, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. However, the law does not require a blood relationship; it only requires an established relationship.

In some third-party custody cases, custody may be granted by way of consent from one biological parent or both. However, voluntary relinquishment of child custody is not as common as custody disputes arising out of allegations of parental unfitness.

The Complexities of Guardianship Custody Cases

Child custody cases are often complicated matters. Adding a third party makes matters even more complex. Judges take great care in all child custody cases to safeguard the best interests of the child. In third-party cases, this may result in various types of custody rulings, such as:

  • Full custody
  • Shared custody with biological parent(s)
  • Shared custody with another third party

In many cases, third-party full custody is not awarded. Instead, the judge restricts the biological parents' rights and control of their child.

In every case, how a judge rules depends on the evidence presented. As you might imagine, each case is unique, so cases tend to vary. There are certain circumstances, however, that allow skilled and experienced child custody attorneys to make reasonable predictions of outcomes.

For example, a third-party custody case involving biological parents who physically abuse their child may result in full third-party custody. Because the court's prime concern is the best interests of the child, it would be, in these circumstances, unlawful and dangerous to provide other than full custody.

On the other hand, the courts prefer children to be with their parents. So judges prefer to make rulings other than full custody in third-party cases, but they will grant full custody when presented with enough proper evidence.

Can Someone Who Loses Custody to a Third Party Ever Get It Back?

Yes. Washington State Law allows a child's natural parent to pursue custody of their biological child after a third party has been awarded custody. Even further, recent changes to Washington family law make recovering one's child even easier.

Before the changes, parents who lost their children had a heavy burden for getting their children back. They had to prove that problematic circumstances had changed and that granting them custody would be in the best interests of the child.

Fortunately for parents in these circumstances, this burden was significantly lightened by the Washington Court of Appeals, which found the requirements to be unconstitutional. Now, parents seeking for the family courts to award them custody need only demonstrate that they or their circumstances have changed.

This change is important because it has resulted in more successful cases of biological parents recovering custody of their children. Those who have or are seeking to gain third-party custody of a child should be aware of this change and understand that the burden of proof is lower and that custody can be more easily recouped by a biological parent.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a Non-Parent Custody Case?

Most family law matters involve high stakes and complex issues. Parties must take great care during proceedings or risk losing their case. Additionally, parties should manage their expectations based on the current law and their circumstances. With an experienced family law attorney representing you, you get the effective guidance and advocacy your petition deserves.

Even in cases that appear simple or involve voluntary relinquishment, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. Regardless of the circumstances, the case will still go before a judge for approval. With an attorney, your petition will be complete and in full compliance.

You will also get peace of mind that all is being done that can be done. During these types of family law matters, which are often highly contentious and stressful for both parties, peace of mind goes a long way.

Contact a Spokane Third-Party Custody Lawyer for Legal Help

Get the help you need to seek third-party custody of a child you love. Contact Hodgson Law Office for effective representation today.
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Schedule A Free Consultation With Mark D. Hodgson

As an experienced Spokane attorney, I will protect your rights and guide you through your case. You do not have to go through this alone, I will help you every step of the way.
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Reviews from Our Clients

I hired Mark Hodgson for a divorce in Spokane. He was open, friendly, and gave me great advice and counsel. Mark was honest with me about my case and worked hard to resolve all of my issues quickly. He responded to my phone calls and questions every time. He was WONDERFUL in my hearing and got me alimony, child support, and the parenting plan that my children needed. I had two other lawyers before Mark and he is far superior to my previous counsel. He fought hard for me and he knew the law. I would and will recommend him to everyone that i know.
These situations are never easy. Deciding to get a lawyer then choosing one was a very hard decision. I spoke to a few people that have been thru divorce and Mark’s name came up more than once. I went and met with him, his business partners and Casey his assistant. They were all friendly, professional and most importantly for me nonjudgmental. He is very educated on divorce with children and keeps in mind what is best for the kids! He answered my questions and didn’t make me feel belittled as other lawyers did. Thank you Mark Hodgson and team you are all very appreciated!
Called Mark Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. He got us in that Friday the day after Thanksgiving. We decided to hire him and he made the time to start the process of paperwork that Sunday. It was great he did this so my wife and I didn’t have to miss work and our case was a time sensitive issue. The few times I’ve had to emailed him he seem to get right back to us with answers.
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Meet Our Attorneys

We are a dedicated team of family law and divorce attorneys driven by a passion for empowering clients. With personalized representation, we prioritize your goals and safeguard the well-being of you and your children. Meet our compassionate advocates below.

Mark D. Hodgson

I am committed to helping my clients through one of the most difficult times in their lives....
Mark D. Hodgson

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Schedule a Free Consultation with a Guardianship Custody Attorney in Spokane

Get the legal guidance and representation you need to handle your third-party custody issues. Contact Hodgson Law Office for a free consultation today.
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