By Selim Star
Custody can be awarded to a non-parent, someone who is not the adopted parent nor the natural parent, in certain circumstances.
In this manner you can be awarded custody of a child that is not your biological child but may be a child of your ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, ex-wife or ex-husband. Even in a situation where someone dropped a child off at your house, you may apply for custody with the court. Or you may be the grandparents of the minor child.
In some circumstances a guardianship or a termination of parental rights action combined with an adoption may be more appropriate.
Please consult an attorney if you are in this situation as it is extremely difficult and confusing area of the law.
The Idaho Supreme Court in Stockwell v. Stockwell, 116 Idaho 297, 299 (1989) allowed a nonparent visitation rights and stated:
The paramount consideration in any dispute involving the custody and care of a minor child is the child's best interests. I.C. Sec 32-717. In custody disputes between a "non'Parent" (i.e., an individual who is neither legal nor natural parent) and a natural parent, Idaho courts apply a presumption that a natural parent should have custody as opposed to other lineal or collateral relatives or interested parties. This presumption operates to preclude consideration of the best interests of the child unless the nonparent demonstrates either that the natural parent has abandoned the child, that the natural parent is unfit of that the child has been in the nonparent's custody for an appreciable time.
But see Troxell v. Granville, 530 US 57 (2000) (Which held that the constitution's due process clause allowed natural parents a fundamental right to make decisions regarding their children, that parents decisions should have 'special weight', and that 'special factors' might justify a State trumping a parent's decision)
See also Hernandez v. Hernandez, 151 Idaho 882 (2011) (Which did not overrule Stockwell, but was post Troxel)