Protecting the Rights of Nonbiological Parents

Robin T Wernik

New Jersey recognizes the concept of psychological parenthood. This concept allows children to continue in a relationship with an adult not biologically related to them that they have developed a parent-like relationship with.

Our attorney, Robin T. Wernik, successfully represented the Plaintiff in the New Jersey Supreme Court case of V.C. v. M.J.B., 163 N.J. 200, 2000, wherein the Court ruled that third parties living in a familial circumstance with a child cannot have their bond terminated by the biological parent if they are a "psychological parent." The case set the standard for establishing psychological parenthood in New Jersey and around the country.

Legally Establishing Your Role As a Parent

In order to establish that you are a psychological parent you need to meet a four-part test as follows:

  1. The biological or adoptive parent must have consented to and fostered the formation of your parent-like relationship with the child.
  2. You and the child must have resided together in the same household.
  3. You assumed the obligations of parenthood.
  4. You have been in a parental role for a length of time sufficient to have established a bonded, dependent relationship that is parental in nature.

Our firm has experience helping clients with these cases, and our work has set the standard for psychological parent cases in New Jersey. We can guide you through the four-part test and help you understand what steps you need to take to enforce your rights as a parent. We are committed to helping our clients through the legal process and providing them with the advocacy they need to obtain custody, visitation and other legal rights.

Speak With an Attorney About Your Situation

Every situation is different. We can help you understand the law and how it will apply to your specific situation. Please contact the attorneys at Wernik & Salvatore who are experienced in psychological parent cases to discuss your circumstances and learn your rights.