Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–831.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “De facto parent” means an individual:

(A) Who:

(i) Lived with the child in the same household at the time of the child’s birth or adoption by the child’s parent;

(ii) Has taken on full and permanent responsibilities as the child’s parent; and

(iii) Has held himself or herself out as the child’s parent with the agreement of the child’s parent or, if there are 2 parents, both parents; or

(B) Who:

(i) Has lived with the child in the same household for at least 10 of the 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the complaint or motion for custody;

(ii) Has formed a strong emotional bond with the child with the encouragement and intent of the child’s parent that a parent-child relationship form between the child and the third party;

(iii) Has taken on full and permanent responsibilities as the child’s parent; and

(iv) Has held himself or herself out as the child’s parent with the agreement of the child’s parent, or if there are 2 parents, both parents.

(2) “Intrafamily offense” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 16-1001(8).

(3) “Legal custody” means legal responsibility for a child, including the right to:

(A) Make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and general welfare;

(B) Access the child’s educational, medical, psychological, dental, or other records; and

(C) Speak with and obtain information regarding the child from school officials, health care providers, counselors, or other persons interacting with the child.

(4) “Physical custody” means a child’s living arrangements. The term “physical custody” includes a child’s residency or visitation schedule.

(5) “Third party” means a person other than the child’s parent or de facto parent.


(Sept. 20, 2007, D.C. Law 17-21, § 2(b), 54 DCR 6835; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 217(b), 56 DCR 1117; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 4(f), 56 DCR 1338.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in the section designation.

D.C. Law 17-368, in par. (2), substituted “§ 16-1001(8)” for “§ 16-1001(5)”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(b) of Safe and Stable Homes for Children and Youth Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-69, July 9, 2007, 54 DCR 6826).