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Separation and Divorce: Child Custody, Access, and Parenting Plans

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Can someone other than the parents get custody and access?

Usually it is the child's parents who get custody or access. But in some cases, other people might get custody or access, such as a step-parent, grandparent, or other relative. Or it could be someone outside the family who has a close relationship with the child.

A parent with sole custody can choose who gets custody of their child for the first 90 days after their own death. This does not have to be the other parent. The person they choose, or anyone else, can apply to court to have custody after that.

Courts decide custody and access based on what is in the best interests of the child.

When we use the word "parent" in this resource, it usually means anyone who has custody or access.