How to Get Custody of a Child As an Aunt?

Getting custody of a child as an aunt can be a complicated process. You must prove that the parents are unfit or have acted inconsistently with their parental rights to get custody. Fortunately, there are several methods to gain custody. These include filing for guardianship, taking the child to a lawyer, and bringing the child to court. 

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Exceptions to guardianship 

Exceptions to guardianship for an aunt to get custody of a child can occur in a number of different situations. One example is when the parent’s divorce and the aunt wants to take care of her niece. The aunt must show that the parent abandoned her niece or that the child was in danger. Another example would be when an aunt’s parents were drug addicts and she felt the need to protect her niece. 

Unlike grandparents, aunts and uncles do not have inherent rights to custody of a child. While aunts and uncles may get visitation rights to their nieces and nephews, they do not usually get custody of a child. In such a situation, the court might opt to place the child in foster care until the parents can get back custody. 

Rights of non-parents 

The courts rarely grant non-parent custody rights, and non-parents must prove “extraordinary circumstances” in order to  be awarded custody. A non-parent must also show that they are in the child’s best interest, which is similar to what the court considers when considering a parent’s custody application. 

The most important factor in determining custody is the best interest of the child. Washington State does not require any proof that the non-parent has harmed the child. In other states, the law requires that non-parents prove they have a reasonable fear of causing harm to a child, so the court can grant them visitation rights based on the child’s best interests. 

Signs of neglect 

If you are an aunt looking to get custody of a child, you need to be on the lookout for signs of neglect. This can include a child who is dirty and has bad hygiene. There could also be untreated illnesses or physical injuries. The best way to deal with such an issue is to stay calm and don’t ask leading questions. Instead, try to assure the child that the abuse was not their fault. 

You can call child protective services if you suspect neglect or abuse in a child’s life. They will visit your home and interview the child’s parents separately. They may also look into the food in your kitchen and cabinets.