Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–831.06. Award of custody to third party.

(a) The court shall award custody of the child to the third party upon determining:

(1) The presumption in favor of parental custody has been rebutted; and

(2) Custody with the third party is in the child’s best interests.

(b) The third party seeking custody shall bear the burden of rebutting the parental presumption by clear and convincing evidence.

(c) In any proceeding under this chapter, the court may appoint counsel for the parent of the child should the court deem it appropriate in the interest of justice. The court also may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child and counsel for the third party.

(d)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the court shall enter an order for any custody arrangement that is agreed to by the parents and the proposed custodian or custodians, including custody based on revocable parental consent, unless clear and convincing evidence indicates that the arrangement is not in the best interests of the child.

(2) If one parent agrees and the other parent does not timely object after having been properly served with process and the proposed arrangement, the arrangement shall be deemed to be agreed to by the parents.

(3) In any proceeding to assess a proposed arrangement under this subsection, the proposed custodian or custodians shall be full parties.

(e) If custody is awarded under this chapter to a third party, the court shall issue an order that provides for frequent and continuing contact between the parents and the child and encouraging love, affection, and contact between the child and the parents, unless the court determines that such an order is not in the best interest of the child.


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

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-831.11.

Effect of Amendments

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

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).