Some minor children find themselves in situations where their biological parents cannot or will not perform all of the necessary duties associated with raising a child. For children whose biological parents have lost custody, died, or wound up incarcerated, the possibility of placement in a group home or foster home is very real.
If you love children who are going through a difficult time, you may want to step up and fulfill the parental obligations that are currently going unmet. Thankfully, Washington state law does recognize the right of third-party individuals, including grandparents, to seek custody of children in certain circumstances.
The third-party adoption laws in Washington are intentionally broad because biological relationships don’t always directly correlate to the value or quality of a relationship between people. The best friend of a deceased parent could potentially be a better adoptive parent than a biological aunt or uncle.
As such, the law gives a judge hearing a petition for third-party adoption plenty of discretion in order to allow anyone who has the desire and capability of providing for children the right to potentially seek custody.
The primary factor that will guide how the courts rule in these situations will be the best interest of the children. In other words, the courts want to see a positive, pre-existing relationship. They also expect that those seeking custody through third-party custody laws will have the resources to provide a basic standard of living for the child or children they seek to adopt. If you believe you can provide the parental support children you know need, you may be able to formally adopt them.
Jeniece LaCross, Attorney At Law