When a judge is deciding a custody case between a parent and someone who is not a parent, different things will be considered. First, the judge will decide whether there are extraordinary circumstances. Examples of some extraordinary circumstances are: when a court has determined that there has been abuse or neglect; the child has been harmed by continued domestic violence; or when there is substance abuse in the home of the parent. It might also mean that the non-parent (a person who is not a parent) has been caring for the child for a very long time. It is automatically considered to be an extraordinary circumstance if a grandparent has been caring for a child for two years. To get this information, the judge may ask for a COI, similar to the report mentioned above.
If there are extraordinary circumstances, the judge will decide what is in the best interests of the child. If there are no extraordinary circumstances, the judge will give the biological parent custody.