While getting custody of siblings is complicated, it’s not impossible.
The courts prefer to keep children with their parent or parents whenever possible. However, when custody is given to someone outside of that role, like aunts, uncles, or grandparents, this is considered third-party custody.
Typically, third-party custody is reserved for extreme circumstances. In other words, the courts will avoid granting this type of custody unless absolutely necessary.
Reasons why third-party custody may be granted include:
- If the parents are neglectful
- If the parents are abusive (physically, mentally, sexually)
- If the parents are incarcerated
- If the parents have passed away
- If both parents want to give up their parental rights
- If the parents are deemed unfit to care for and raise the child
Adult siblings are eligible to request guardianship of their minor siblings under these circumstances.
How to Get Custody of a Sibling
- Submit the initial request for guardianship. The first step to take is for the adult sibling to petition the court. This is the initial request for guardianship.
- Schedule a hearing date. After this is done, the courts will typically set a hearing to determine if this guardianship arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.
In general, the courts will be looking to see that appointing a sibling as the child’s guardian is better for the child than their current situation.
To determine the child's best interest, the courts will consider:
- The child’s physical needs
- The child’s emotional needs
- The bond between the child and potential guardian
- The child’s preferences (if they are a mature age)
During the hearing, the courts will review guardianship responsibilities with the petitioner so they are fully aware of what they are signing up for.
For more detailed information about requesting guardianship in Utah, click here.
Salt Lake City Child Custody Lawyers
At Lokken & Putnam, P.C., our attorneys always act with the child’s best interests in mind. If your siblings or other minor family members are currently in an unhealthy living environment, reach out to our team today regarding your options for third-party custody or guardianship. Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 829-9783.