Can a non-custodial parent who has not seen their child in 2 years, have a chance of getting the child if something happened to the custodial parent?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a non-custodial parent who has not seen their child in 2 years, have a chance of getting the child if something happened to the custodial parent?

Asked on October 13, 2012 under Family Law, Arkansas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As long as the non-custodial parent's rights have not been terminated, they actually have a good chance of getting the child if something did happen to the custodial parent.  Whoever has been helping the custodial parent over the last two years is certain to protest, but the Supreme Court of the United States has consistently upheld that the rights of a biological parent are superior to a non-parent.  The exception to this rules is if the parent has done something to forfeit that right.  Often, forfeiture comes in the form of a bad act (like harming the child.)  However, the bad act can also be an omission (like failing to provide any support for an extended period of time without a justifiable excuse).  You don't mention why you haven't seen the child in two years, but to avoid an involuntary termination, you would be better off to do some "reaching out" to the child.  Even if the efforts are rejected by the child or the custodial parent, you at least want to show the courts that it was not your choice to abandon the child.  Things that you can do include:  making sure you pay something on your child support (even if it's not current), sending cards for important events, arrange video chatting if the child is in another state, enforcing your right to visitation or access.  In the modern era of technology, keepinging in touch is a much more practical reality than it used to be. 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that even though you may not have had custody of your child for a couple of years assuming you visited the child and made an effort to be in his or her life that assuming something happened to the custodial parent where he or she could not care for the minor, you should be able to have custody of the child under the laws of all states in this country.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption