Do Non-Parents Have The Right To Custody?
For the first six months of Leann Leutner’s baby boy’s life, Leann lived with her boyfriend, Dr. Jonathan Sporn, even giving the boy Sporn’s last name. However, Sporn is not the boy’s biological father (something both parties were aware of). When Leutner died of a suicide, Sporn began proceedings for custody of the child he had raised as his own. He lost the case, and the boy’s aunt was given custody, leaving the man who had been the only father the child knew, out of his life.
What is the law in Connecticut?
If this case had been brought in Connecticut, the outcome might have been different. Connecticut law recognizes that sometimes third parties do have parental relationships with children and allows the court to consider the third parties and to consider providing custody orders that support those relationships.
A third party in Connecticut can bring a case for custody if they can show there has been a parental-like relationship. There must also be evidence that giving custody to the third party would be in the best interests of the child. If there is a question as to whether custody should be given to a third party instead of to a parent (which was not the case in the Leutner/Sporn case), the third party seeking custody must show that letting the parent have custody would cause harm to the child.
Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin is committed to helping you protect your rights to custody of the child in your life, and is available to pursue or defend against a custody claim.