Change a Nonparent Custody Order to Get Your Children Back
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
Read this if you are a parent who lost custody of your child in a Nonparent Custody case filed in Washington State before July 1, 2019. #3151EN
- Should I read this?
- Who should not read this?
- What will I learn?
- What has changed?
- I lost custody to my child's grandmother last year. I was in a bad place then. My situation is much better now.
- The custody order was a temporary order. The non-parent custody case is not final yet. What can I do?
- Get Legal Help
Should I read this?
You should read this if you are a parent who lost custody of your child in a Nonparent Custody case filed in Washington State before July 1, 2019.
Who should not read this?
This does not apply to you if
The order giving a non-parent custody is only a temporary order, not a final order
you lost custody in a dependency case
you lost custody to the other parent
a court has terminated your parental rights
What will I learn?
Why it is now easier to do this, what courts will be looking for now, and how to ask the court that issued the Nonparent Custody order to change that order and give the child back to you.
What has changed?
Before July 1, 2019, you had limited options for getting your child back from a nonparent who had gotten a final custody order. You had to be able to prove to the court that there was a change in the child’s or nonparent’s situation. You also had to prove that giving the child back to you would be in the child’s best interests. The court would not look at whether your own situation had changed.
On July 1, 2019, the Washington Court of Appeals in In Re Custody of S.M. and A.M. found that standard to be unconstitutional. The Court held that a parent should have a chance to show a change in your own situation. It also held that you no longer have to prove that it is in the child’s best interest to be returned to you.
*You will also have to show that it will not harm the child's growth and development to be returned to your custody.
I lost custody to my child's grandmother last year. I was in a bad place then. My situation is much better now.
You can file a Petition to Terminate or Change Non-Parent Custody Order case to ask the court to return custody of your child to you. You can give the court evidence and declarations that prove the changes in your situation.
You can now use our Instructions for Filing to End a Nonparent Custody Order to Get Your Children Back packet. Get it at WashingtonLawHelp.org.
The custody order was a temporary order. The non-parent custody case is not final yet. What can I do?
Starting January 1, 2021, you can ask the court to dismiss the Non-Parent Custody case. Use our Dismiss a Non-Parent Custody Case packet.
Get Legal Help
Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help.