We’ve all heard of situations where grandparents are raising their grandchildren, but in reality situations also arise where non-parent family members likes aunts, uncles or older siblings, and sometimes non-family members, act as a child’s guardian or full-time caregiver. In some instances the family situation is agreed by all parents and in other family situations a court will be required to find that a non-parent is the appropriate legal and physical custodial care giver. These situations can be temporary, such as the case where parents are active military and deployed overseas. Sometimes in loco parentis extends to non-family members, such as a neighbor, caring for a child for an extended period or when a teacher makes decisions that affect a student.
In loco parentis refers to a relationship in which a person puts himself or herself in the situation of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child. (ARS 25-409, https://azleg.gov/ars/25/00409.htm)
In loco parentis cases most often come arise when discussing the role that a child’s grandparents may provide in their life and may simply help to guarantee a relationship between a child and grandparents.
In loco parentis may cover situations concerning an adult who believes it is best and necessary to:
- Obtain from the court Legal Decision-Making authority for a Child
- Obtain an Order for Primary Custody of a Child
- Seek an Order for Separate Visitation Rights
- Requesting temporary Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
A relationship of in loco parentis also has significance for obtaining necessary medical, dental and vision care, mental health care, after school activities and necessary insurance coverage, as well as employment law and the Family and Medical Leave Act situations where they affect non-parents caring for children. While in loco parentis cases can be complex, the goal is to ensure that every decision is made in the best interest of the child, while also preserving the parental rights of natural parents if at all possible. Every situation is different and having an experienced Family Law attorney at your side can greatly influence the outcome. McMurdie Law and Mediation is experienced with in loco parentis cases and happy to discuss your specific needs. Please call 480-777-5500 to schedule a consultation today.