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Non-Parental Custody / Third Party Custody in Washington

Unhappy with their arguments

A non-parental custody action (or third party custody action) is one brought by individuals who are seeking legal custody of a child of whom they are not a parent. In many cases, this custody modification arises when a grandparent or other relative of the child is concerned about their well-being. A child custody change is usually brought forward when the child’s welfare in the care of the parent (or current guardian) is questionable. Although this is not a divorce case, the lawyers to contact would be Everett divorce attoreys, due to their knowledge of custody law.FamilyLaw

Allegations of parental ineptitude can include negligent behaviors, proclivity to drug or alcohol addictions, inability to physically care for the child due to physical or mental incapacity, including disabilities or age, and other considerations. If a strong case can be made to demonstrate these incapacities or failures on the part of the current custodian, non-parental custody or third party custody rights can be established.  

How can child custody be changed?Sad girl listening to her parents arguing in the kitchen

While often difficult to obtain, non-parent child custody can be established. To proceed with a non-parental custody action, an initial allegation of parental unfitness must be made. This action must demonstrate how the child is suffering or will suffer actual detriment in parent’s care. There are a number of procedural steps that need to be taken in a non-parental custody action. Some of these steps will include:


  • Filling out various forms with your family divorce attorney, such as confidential information forms, non-parental custody petitions, financial declarations, motion for temporary nonparental custody order, and more. Your family divorce attorney will help you to determine which forms will be applicable to your situation. There will be filing fees, though the judge may waive a portion of the fee if you cannot afford to pay the full amount.
  • Preparation for and setting the date of your Adequate Cause Hearing. During this sFamily Law Adoption & Custodytage there will be many more forms to fill out and parties to contact. This can be very confusing for individuals, so the assistance of a family law attorney will be greatly beneficial for the applicant.
  • Completion of a parenting seminar.
  • Attend and present final documentation and forms at the final hearing.

Establishing Non-Parental Custody Rights

The legal standard for permanently removing a child from a parent’s custody in favor of a non-parent is understandably quite high. However, there are many circumstances that may warrant a non-parental being granted custody of a child. At Anderson Hunter Family Law Firm, we have much experience in child custody change and third party custody cases.


If the current parent or guardian agrees to a change of custody rights, the process will be greatly eased, though likely still somewhat lengthy and complex. If, however, the parent or current guardian contests your application for third party custody, it will be a far more difficult case. The emotional and legal complexities and challenges that you will have to face are best not faced alone — it is our desire to protect your rights and the safety of the child by giving you all the assistance and support that you need.

Anderson Hunter Law Firm, P.S.
2707 Colby Ave #1001 Everett, WA 98201
(425) 252-5161