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Extended Family Custody Orders


No two families are the same, so it makes sense that custody arrangements will also differ depending on a family’s circumstances. It is sometimes, for instance, in a child’s best interests to remain with an extended family member, at least for a period of time. In these cases, it is possible to petition the court for a Temporary Extended Family Custody Agreement. Requesting this type of custody arrangement is complicated, so if you think that this kind of arrangement might be best for you and your family, or a family member is unfairly attempting to change your existing custody plan, you should consider reaching out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale temporary custody lawyer for help.

Who Can Seek Temporary Custody?

There are only a few instances when non-parents can request custody of a child, including when the person seeking custody is:

  • An extended family member who has received a signed and notarized consent from the child’s parents; or
  • An extended family member who has cared for the child in their home and on a full-time basis.

In either case, the extended family member will also need to satisfy a few other requirements, including proving that:

  • The child has been in his or her physical custody for at least ten days in any month of the last year;
  • He or she is an adult; and
  • He or she is related by blood or marriage to the child, or is a stepparent to the child.

Under this definition, anyone from a grandparent or aunt and uncle to nieces and nephews and first cousins could qualify as an extended relative.

Filing a Petition

When requesting temporary custody, extended family members will need to provide specific information, including:

  • The name and addresses of the child, the child’s parents, and anyone with whom the child has been living in the last five years;
  • Information about any other custody proceedings, whether past or present, in which the child has been involved; and
  • Details about their relationship to the child, how long the child lived with them, the actions they wish to take on the child’s behalf, and why the custody arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.

Once the petition is served on both parents, the court will hold a hearing. If no objection is made by the parents, then the judge will typically grant the petition. If a parent objects, however, then the court will require clear and convincing evidence that the parents aren’t fit to care for the child. As long a parent is found unfit, the court can grant temporary custody to the petitioning family member. As temporary arrangements, these kinds of plans don’t have a definite deadline. The termination of the arrangement, however, will usually only occur after the parents or a family member have filed a petition.

Call Today to Schedule a Consultation

Speaking with experienced temporary custody attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. is free of charge. Contact us at 954-945-7591 or complete an online form to get in touch with a member of our legal team.



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