In Connecticut, it is not always blood ties and legal documents that make a family. At Reich & Truax, PLLC, we know that it is not only possible but fairly common for you to forge a close relationship with a child who is not genetically related to you. It may be a stepchild or the child of a long-term romantic partner from a previous relationship. You may have a grown son or daughter with stepchildren with whom you have shared a bond similar to the one you have with your biological or legally recognized grandchildren. In any case, even with a permanent disruption to the status quo, you may wish the relationship with the child to continue.
In some cases, it may be possible for you to obtain visitation rights as a third party, but it is not easy. If the child’s parent or legal guardian objects, the court is reluctant to grant visitation rights to nonrelatives. Though by no means guaranteed, the court may grant exceptions under the following circumstances:
- You can prove that the child’s parent is unfit to make decisions for him or her.
- You provided regular, consistent, unpaid care for the child while he or she was living with you.
- You can demonstrate that preventing interactions between you and the child will cause him or her harm.
It is important to maintain realistic hopes in regard to obtaining rights to visit a child to whom you are not related and manage your expectations accordingly. More information about third-party visitation rights is available on our website.