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Third-Party Rights Attorneys in Bend, Oregon

Any sort of custody battle can be difficult, emotionally and legally. However, when the well-being of a child depends on the results of custody decisions, it’s important to fight for them. If a parent (or both parents) are unfit or unwilling to have custody of their child, a third party can gain custody. This may be the best option for the child, so if you are in a custody battle as a third party, it’s important that you understand your rights.

At Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law, our attorneys are prepared to serve you from our office in Bend, Oregon. We also serve Redmond, Sun River, Prineville, and Sisters, where we fight to help you understand, protect, and fight for your third-party custody rights.

Third-Party Custody Rights 

Custodians have the authority to make almost any decision for the child's welfare. Unlike those with basic guardianship, third-party custodians do not need to come back in front of the court yearly. Long-term custody generally will last until a parent petitions for guardianship to be set aside, and the parent must prove to the court that they are fit.  

When a third party is granted custody of a child, they are generally given both legal and physical custody of the child, meaning that they can make bigger decisions about the child’s needs. Some of these decisions include the following:

  • Medical treatments or procedures

  • Education

  • Where the child lives

  • Spiritual upbringing

  • Their overall safety and well-being

  • Various other crucial matters

A judge can determine who gets these rights based on each individual case. The judge will look at the overall best interests of the child and move forward from there. 

Parent-Child Relationships

When fighting for third-party custody, it’s important to understand what it means. Third-party custody means there needs to be a parent-child relationship between the adult and the child. There are three main factors in defining a parental relationship, and they all have to be true if you’re going to fight for custody as a third party: 

  • Time. The relationship should exist on a day-to-day basis for at least six months before searching for custody. 

  • Place. Parents have physical custody of the child, living in the same household.   

  • Acts. Parents supply the needs of the child, such as food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities, including education, discipline, companionship, and other psychological support.

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Reasons Parents May Lose Custody Rights

Here are some of the reasons a parent may lose their rights to custody:

  • Both parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights.  

  • Both parents are unfit to care for their children. This can occur through abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

  • The child has been living with someone else (the third-party individual) for a long time.

  • A parent who previously held custody has passed away, and the second parent (survivor) is unfit or unwilling to take custody of a child.

If you’re a parent who has another person trying to take the custody rights of your build from you, do not face this without an attorney’s help. Contact us immediately and fight to protect your rights.

Who Can Seek Custody of a Child in Oregon?

Essentially, anyone who has established emotional ties with the child, in either a child-parent relationship or an ongoing personal relationship, can seek custody of a child. This person can be related to the child or non-related, such as foster parents, stepparents, grandparents, or other relatives. One thing to note is that ongoing relationships are defined as relationships with continuous care through companionship, interplay, and mutuality.


Grandparents can gain custody of a child if both parents are unfit to take care of the child. Also, a common situation is if the child lives with their grandparents for an extended period. The grandparents then have a stronger argument to gain custody.


Divorce is not uncommon these days. If a stepparent wants custody of a child they helped raise, they may have the right to gain custody.

Other Non-Parents

These individuals can include aunts, uncles, adult parents, partners (of the child’s parent), foster parents, and adoptive parents.

Third-Party Rights Attorneys in Bend, Oregon

If you need help understanding and fighting for your rights in or around Bend, Oregon (including Redmond, Sun River, Prineville, and Sisters), reach out to our firm today. We take a compassionate approach, and when you meet with us, you can let us know your goals, and then together, we can move forward toward those goals.