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Can Extended Family Members Request Temporary Custody of a Child?


There are a wide range of circumstances under which a child could find him or herself in the care of an extended family member, like a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or stepparent. While these arrangements may start out as informal, some families may want to consider making the arrangement official, as this gives the guardian in question legal authority over the child. These types of issues tend to crop up in situations where a child requires medical care and a parent or guardian must consent to treatment. Alternatively, signing a child up for school activities or enrolling him or her in school itself usually requires parental oversight and consent.

Without some form of official designation, an extended relative would most likely be unable to fulfill these roles for a minor child under his or her care. Although many of those who find themselves in this situation choose to adopt the child, this isn’t necessarily right for everyone, in which case, the parties involved may want to consider seeking an Order for Temporary Custody by Extended Family. For help requesting custody of your own relative, please contact our experienced child custody legal team today.

Who Can Request Temporary Custody?

Temporary custody arrangements provide a mechanism for protecting children who live with extended family members without the need to terminate any parental rights. Instead, obtaining court-ordered temporary custody allows extended family members who are already caring for a child, to also make decisions related to the child’s welfare, which includes the ability to:

  • Consent to medical care on a child’s behalf;
  • Obtain a child’s medical records;
  • Access a child’s school-related records;
  • Enroll a child in an educational institution; and
  • Consent to a child’s participation in extracurricular and school activities.

In order to obtain temporary custody, a person must be over the age of 18 years old or an emancipated minor, be an extended family member or stepparent, and have physical custody of the child in question. Demonstrating the latter is particularly important in establishing temporary custody and requires proof that the petitioner had physical custody of a child for at least ten days out of any 30 day period of time during the last year. To qualify as an extended relative, a person must generally be related to a child by blood or marriage within the third degree, which includes, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, as well as first cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Petitioning the Court

Before a court will grant temporary custody to a child’s extended family member, that individual must file a petition with the court and obtain the parents’ consent. If obtaining consent isn’t possible, the petitioner will instead need to show why the parents’ consent isn’t necessary. In some situations, a parent may even challenge the petition, in which case, the court will hold a hearing to decide what arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.

Florida Child Custody Attorney

If you are caring for an extended family member who is also a minor, you may want to consider obtaining temporary custody of the child. Please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to discuss your legal options and determine what type of custody arrangement would be in your family’s best interests.


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