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As a Boise Divorce Attorney, I occasionally get calls from grandparents who are raising their grand kids. Often these kids were just left with Grandma and Grandpa and neither parent has any contact with the kids. Often it is the case that there was never a divorce between the parents or, if the parents weren't married, a custody order establishing who should have custody of the children.
What can I do, as a Boise Divorce Lawyer, to help these grandparents get a legal status in relation to the grandchildren? Idaho has a statute that is called the De Facto Custodian Act. What this does is it allows grandparents, or anyone else in the postition of caring for children who were left with them, a legal status known as a de facto custodian. There are rules promulgated by the statutes as to the length of time a child must reside with a party before they can be legally considered a de facto custodian.
Once the time requirements have been met the grandparents can, by themselves or with a Boise Divorce Attorney, file a petition to be named de facto custodian and file for custody of the children. Again there are requirements that have to be met and your Boise Divorce Lawyer must show that it is in the best interest of the child for custody to be placed with the grandparents. If the parents have abandoned the children this is not necessarily a difficult task. Once the court finds that it is in the best interest of the children a custody order is issued and the grandparent's take legal custody of the children.
The order can be challenged upon the showing that it is no longer in the best interest of the children to be in the grandparents' custody. This can and does happen and when it does it can open a whole other can of worms dealing with grandparents' visitation rights which will be addressed in a later blog.
As a Boise Divorce Attorney people often ask me what type of situation results in custody being placed with a de facto custodian. In general, it occurs when the parents are involved with drugs or in criminal activity. Meth children, when Health and Welfare have not taken the children away, are a good example of where I hear the most about the need for the de facto custodian act.
If you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney or have divorce or custody issues you would like to address, please call (208) 472-2383