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Legal Options for Relative Caregivers: De Facto Custodian

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Options for Relative Caregivers
  1. Adoption (in all states)
  2. Guardianship (in all states)
  3. Legal Custody (in all states)
  4. Open Adoption with Agreements (in some states)
  5. De Facto Custodian (in some states)
  6. Permanent Guardianship (in some states)
  7. Standby Guardianship (in some states)
  8. Subsidized Guardianship (in some states)
  9. Medical & Educational Consent (in some states)


These laws basically give caregivers the same standing as parents in custody cases if they satisfy the definition of "de facto custodian."

"De facto custodian" is defined as the primary caregiver and financial support of a child who has lived with that person for at least (1) six months if the child is under age three; and (2) one year if the child is at least age three. After the court makes its finding that the person is a de facto custodian, he or she has the same legal standing in custody cases as a parent and his or her input concerning the child is considered by the court. Custody of the child is then determined based on the best interests of the child.

Indiana: IN Code, 31-9-2-35.5; 31-14-13-2.5; 31-17-2-8; and 31-17-2-8.5
Kentucky: KY Statutes, 403.270; 403.340; 403.350; 403.420; and 405.020

Source: Generations United, one of the premier Web resources for grandparents and other relative caregivers. Copyright 2002, Generations United. Reprinted with permission of Generations United http://www.gu.org
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