Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–831.07. Findings necessary to rebut the parental presumption by clear and convincing evidence.

(a) To determine that the presumption favoring parental custody has been rebutted, the court must find, by clear and convincing evidence, one or more of the following factors:

(1) That the parents have abandoned the child or are unwilling or unable to care for the child;

(2) That custody with a parent is or would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the child; or

(3) That exceptional circumstances, detailed in writing by the court, support rebuttal of the presumption favoring parental custody.

(b) The court shall not consider a parent’s lack of financial means in determining whether the presumption favoring parental custody has been rebutted.

(c) The court shall not use the fact that a parent has been the victim of an intrafamily offense against the parent in determining whether the presumption favoring parental custody has been rebutted.

(d) If the court concludes that the parental presumption has not been rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall dismiss the third-party complaint and enter any appropriate judgment in favor of the parent. The court shall only address the factors set forth in § 16-831.08 once the presumption favoring parental custody has been rebutted.


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

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).