Psychological Parentage Attorneys in New Jersey
The Experienced Family Lawyers at Our Firm Will Walk You Through Understanding and Asserting Your Rights as a Psychological Parent in NJ
Psychological parents are adults who have assumed the role of a parent but are not their adoptive parents or related to the children by blood. They are parents because they fit very specific guidelines set forth by the courts. Psychological parents are also known as “functional parents” and/or “de facto parents.”
Our experienced New Jersey custody attorneys will give you all the information you require in order to proceed with your psychological parentage case. Please do not be hesitant to get in touch with us for help with your case in any county in New Jersey. Call The Montanari Law Group, LLC at 973-233-4396 or fill out our online form to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
Minimum Requirements for Psychological Parent Status
Any person who has formed a close bond with the child, meets and proves the elements required, and is able to take care of the child so as to fulfill and satisfy the child’s best interests, may be qualified a psychological parent. The most common scenario that psychological parentage comes into play is when there is a second marriage or a relationship subsequent to marriage or children born out of wedlock. Sometimes there are three or four adults raising a child or children, usually consisting of the two biological parents and their two respective partners. The partners may be able to qualify as psychological parents depending on the facts of the situation.
Can Psychological Parents Obtain the Same Rights as Biological Parents?
Psychological parents are able to be granted full legal parentage over a child. Legal parentage comes with the same rights that a biological, or adoptive, parent would enjoy with the child, such as child custody and support entitlement. This also entails the right to raise the child however they like, including the ability to make decisions regarding the child’s education and medical care.
How Can Psychological Parentage Be Established in New Jersey?
Psychological parentage is established if the third-party parent can convince the court that four elements are met. Usually, this is done through the offering of evidence to the court. The third-party parent must prove the following:
The biological parent agrees with the parent-child relationship being formed between the third-party parent and the child. Not only must the biological parent agree to the creation and forming of this relationship, but they must do what they can to make sure the relationship is sustained over a period of time. The third-party parents must also take in the biological parent and the child that they are seeking to become the psychological parent to. The third-party parent must have welcomed the biological parent and the child to their home and they must live together as a single family unit. The third element required by the court to be considered a psychological parent is that the third-party parent must have held themselves out to be the parent by taking on any obligations for the child and taking responsibility for caring for the child. This is a fundamental element required by the court because parents satisfy this element inherently through the nature of the parent-child relationship. The final element required by the court is that the third-party parent and the child have engaged in, and participated in the parent-child relationship for a certain amount of time so that a bond has begun to form between the third-party parent and the child.
What Lessons Can be Learned from Psychological Parent Case Law?
In KAF vs. DLM, DLM is a stepparent to the child in question and a former partner of KAF. KAF is a biological parent, along with her new domestic partner FD (who happens to be an adoptive parent). Two parents with legal rights in this matter were KAF, because of her biological relationship to the child, and FD, due to their adoptive parent status. KAF and FD separated, at which point KAF and DLM became involved. A domestic partnership was involved and DLM began to assume many of the same responsibilities that a parent would to Arthur. KAF and DLM separated and now DLM sought psychological parentage status based upon their time together and the bond that was created between the boy and DLM.
Though the family division judge ruled that both parents had to consent in order for DLM’s psychological parentage status was established, the Appellate Division held that express consent was not needed, and that implied consent was given to DLM by the legal guardians of Arthur. DLM had a visitation schedule including overnight stays, which was consented to by both legal guardians of Arthur.
Rights and Obligations Upon Establishing Psychological Parentage and Becoming a Legal Guardian
Though becoming a psychological parent brings with all the rights of a biological parent, including that of child custody and child support. Furthermore, a psychological parent can be protected from paying child support. Psychological parents have the same protections as a biological parent according to D.G. vs. K.S. Like biological parentage, psychological parentage does not automatically entitle you to child custody and/or child support, but it allows you the possibility to be awarded such things.
Contact Custody Attorneys for Help with Your Psychological Parentage Case in Hackensack, Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City NJ
An attorney can be extremely beneficial in family matters concerning psychological parentage. As previously mentioned, establishing psychological parentage requires proof to be shown to the court of the satisfaction of four elements. These cases can have many gray areas and only an experienced family law attorney who understands custody laws and how best to handle these complex cases can shape the facts of your case in a successful way. Our talented team of custody lawyers at The Montanari Law Group, LLC, is ready to assist with your psychological parentage matter, dedicating all of our education and practical experience in Family Courts in Passaic County, Hudson County, Bergen County, Essex County, and throughout New Jersey to obtain your goals for the outcome of the case. Call 973-233-4396 to learn more about our firm and how our attorneys can serve your needs.