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Psychological parenthood in Short Hills, New Jersey refers to a situation where one or more individuals are parenting a child that is not their biological child but are fulfilling many of the same roles and duties that a biological parent would. For example, if a grandparent assumes the responsibility of raising their grandchild because the child’s biological parent is unfit to do so, the grandparent may be taking on the role of a psychological parent.
A psychological parent typically is a close relative of the child, such as a grandparent or other immediate family member. However, in some situations, an individual or couple who assumes this role may not be related directly to the child, such as foster parents. If you want to demonstrate psychological parentage of a child you have been taking care of as your own, and are seeking formal rights as a de facto parent, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney. Our lawyers could help advise whether you have a viable basis to pursue such rights and explain the next legal steps of your claim.
Several benchmarks must be met to demonstrate psychological parentage. The first benchmark is that one of the child’s biological or adoptive parents must agree with the petitioner’s claim for psychological parentage and establish that the claimants have taken steps to nurture this de facto parent connection.
The second benchmark is a residency requirement. The individual or couple requesting to be psychological parents needs to have resided with the child at some point during the child’s life.
The third benchmark is one of the most crucial factors to prove. The individual or couple petitioning for psychological parentage in Short Hills, New Jersey must show that they have shouldered many of the duties associated with the child’s upbringing, whether through economic maintenance or other means. Finally, the connection between the potential psychological parent and the child should be characteristic of that between a parent and their child.
When someone can prove all benchmarks needed to demonstrate psychological parentage, the court may afford them the same parental privileges in matters of child custody as they would if they were the child’s birth parent. This means that if the court grants someone psychological parenthood and they wish to pursue custodial rights, the court will view them with the same precedence as they would the child’s biological parents.
However, establishing psychological parenthood is not the same as being a custodial parent. The court takes numerous points into considerations before deciding whether or not a psychological parent should receive custody of a child. The home environment the psychological parent could provide versus the child’s legal or birth parent, the child’s relationship with all parties concerned, and the amicability of the parties to work together to create a nurturing environment for the child are all important considerations that the court may take into account.
The child’s best interests are the primary concern to the court in all cases. If it can be shown that the child’s interests will best be met if custody is awarded to the psychological parent rather than the child’s birth parent, the court may grant the former party custody.
If you are interested in learning more about psychological parenthood in Short Hills, an attorney could explain how the process works and whether you may have a legal basis to seek these rights. Discuss your case with one of our attorneys today. Give our office a call today and schedule an initial case consultation.