February 5, 2006
Case Development: Aunts have no Standing to Be Awarded Custody
The Supreme Court of New Hampshire reversed a trial court's grant of custody to a paternal aunt after the parents had engaged in repeated custody disputes, violations of court orders and custody changes over a two-year period. The court held that "in the context of a custody determination, unless a third party is either a grandparent or stepparent who has established in loco parentis status, he or she may not obtain custody of the child over a biological or adoptive parent." Since the aunt had no standing under New Hampshire statutes, it was error to award custody to her. Two dissenting judges agreed in the result but disagreed with the majority's conclusion that even grandparents or stepparents might have a right of custody that could prevail over fit parents.
In re Jeffrey G, 2006 N.H. LEXIS 9 (January 27, 2006)