As can be told in the setting, the human parents of any White Court vampire children don't tend to live long (even with what happened with Margaret, who left without her son). With the House they belong to taking full custody and rearing their progeny how they see fit.

However, this has made me wonder: If the human parent somehow did live long enough and flee with the child too: would they be able to actually try make any legal measures within the supernatural community, to try prevent that House from getting custody of the kid even if something were to happen to them?

They can't take it to a human court with the truth of the situation. And even if they did get the family barred through other mortal legal means/excuses - that's not going to be respected.

But, the supernatural world does seem to at least have precedent with trials and legal cases and would at least certainly believe the parent (and possibly be more respected in their verdict).

So, within the described lore of the setting, is there anything that would indicate a way for a person to attempt to start a court case on a matter like this about custody of a white court child? For instance there being a specifically described someone they could go to/protocols followed/things done?

Disclaimer: I don’t think they’d succeed with the case, with who they are up against, but this question is specifically wondering if there's anything on if even an attempt would be possible.

4 Answers 4


The mortal parent almost certainly doesn't have standing to bring a legal challenge in the supernatural world. The various supernatural power blocs, such as the Vampire Courts and the White Council, aren't interest groups that operate under a single law; they're nations that operate under treaties with one another.

The most important treaty is the Unseelie Accords, which describe (essentially) the international relations of the supernatural world. Normal humans, however, are not party to the Accords. Unless they come under the protection of one of these powers (such as the Faerie Courts, or perhaps the White Council), they have no rights and no standing to seek protection under the Accords. For instance, in White Night, Harry was only able to challenge Vitto Malvora because his victims fell under the penumbra of the White Council's interests.

So, a pure mortal parent would have no standing to challenge the White Court under the Accords. (A partially supernatural parent such as a changeling might have other options, assuming it's even possible for them to have a child with a vampire.)

They could pursue the matter under mortal law, of course. Without proof of abuse or neglect, though, they have a very weak case. Most jurisdictions will not take custody away from a parent - even in favor of another parent - without a clear and compelling reason. This is why, as you mentioned, the White Court tends to have the other parents killed so that they don't have to go through that hassle.

Finally, the White Court would probably not be unduly concerned with a ruling against them. They can't simply ignore it; the Court is too active in the affairs of mortals. They own property, they manage businesses, they generally need relatively clean legal records. However, they have enough influence to delay any such judgment, appeal or, or have it vacated without too much trouble.

  • 1
    Or if the mortal parent was another signatory of the Accords, like John Marcone.
    – jo1storm
    Dec 7, 2021 at 13:08
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    @jo1storm There is no "like Marcone"; Marcone is the only mortal to ever become a signatory to the Accords. That does however give some standing to his employees and their dependents which might let them bring a challenge.
    – Cadence
    Dec 7, 2021 at 17:36
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    No, it GIVES them the standing to bring a challenge. Marcone, as asignatory, has ways to lodge a complaint and it covers his subjects/retainers, too, of course. However, as I pointed out in my answer, in this case, if there is no prior agreement between the parents, the "You should know better, it's your fault now. Too bad, soo sad." approach will be adopted.
    – AcePL
    Dec 8, 2021 at 7:41

I haven't seen anything in canon that would show this being attempted.

That said, considering how the courts treat mundane cases where there's a difference in affluence, unless the non-vampire parent was similarly connected, I'd think from their modus operandi on other things where legalities become involved in the mortal world, they'd just let it play out in the mortal courts and apply other leverage (monetary, legal) to get the case resolved as quickly as possible in their favor.

So the answer to your question would be yes, I'd presume, using the normal procedures for such a case.


In the US there are several states where a rapist can sue for custody so custody issues are really strange in general and the death of a parent almost always means the surviving parent gets custody.

In The Dresden Files what the human could do is make a deal with a different power, give the child to the Fairies for example this may legally prevent the white court from gaining custody of the child however it is debatable if this option is really any better than the kid being raised by the vampires.

  • I don't think that would work - giving the child resulted from relationship with White Court is automatically considered member of the White Court. Human part is, unfortunately, immaterial to the problem. Or, should I say, a lot of other powers have their royalty, shall we say to sidestep spoilers, being human-born...
    – AcePL
    Dec 7, 2021 at 10:02

In case of the White Court, legal battle in human court of law is doomed to fail miserably. Not on merits, of course... To say they have dealings in mundane world is an understatement. They have enough clout to have US military to run errands for them, for goodness sake...

As for supernatural world, as pointed out in Cadence's answer, the human as an individual is not considered having any rights beyond natural rights, and in case as asked, a child from relationship between human and White Court thing is considered legally to be part of the White Court.

Due to the way the Unseelie Accords and other treaties are set up - which is following the letter of the law, not the spirit - attempts to go this route will be laughed at by any of the signatories. Provided, of course, complaining human was not affiliated with any other Court or Power - it's not there in the Question, so assuming vanilla human in all respects.

While White Council is a self-proclaimed defender of whole humanity, limited manpower (even if awesome in any other way) forces them to restrain their activities to magical folk. Point to note is that other powers consider wizards queer food only and most of the power White Council has in the supernatural is hard won by pure force. Harry definitely doesn't see himself as magical-folk-only champion, and he's admonished for it only so far as he's an overly optimistic idealist, but not on merit in any way. Unless, of course, he's violating any treaties.

So bottom-lining the answer... Due to the way supernatural world works, there are precious few options available:

  1. Grab the child and run. Might makes right in a lot of cases and if parent is able to successfully defend one's rights, I'd assume no one will question it in supernatural world. MOrtal world would see CPS (or equivalent for other countries) and police involved in no time, though.
  2. Invoking Unseelie Accords or other treaties will work if human parent is part of any of the Signatories' "staff". This is basically "Your fault, you should know better." scenario. (i.e. Bill's wedding would be considered valid, even if it was done through deception and his bride was actually... someone else using glamour)
  3. Human court of law is a viable option, but taking into account that White Court has a lot of power in the mortal world (political, financial, influence, you name it), this will fail "procedurally". Of course, provided that the parent will not be disappeared or will have "an accident". White Court will not loose in courts, but it hates being in any way in the spotlights, too, so they would go dirty.

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