Temporary Custody Arrangements
When it comes to child custody, courts generally prefer to award custody to one or both of a child’s parents. There are, however, some occasions where the court will award temporary custody of a child to a third party to resolve a problem without permanently changing the rights of a child’s parents. To receive temporary custody of a child, a person must comply with strict petitioning requirements, so if you believe that having temporary custody of a child in your family would be in his or her best interests, you should consider contacting a Fort Lauderdale temporary custody lawyer who can help you navigate the process.
What is Temporary Custody?
Under Florida law, custody is divided into two categories, known as time-sharing and parental responsibility. In most cases, family courts are predisposed to award an equal split between parents in these areas, as it is thought to be in a child’s best interests. Courts will, however, step outside of this arrangement and award temporary custody to a third party, usually an extended family member, like a grandparent or aunt or uncle, in certain situations. As its name suggests, these arrangements are not permanent, but will remain in place only until the child’s parents can regain custody. Those who are granted temporary custody of a child will have a variety of parental rights, including the ability to make some types of decisions on the child’s behalf.
Parental Rights Granted to Those with Temporary Custody
A relative who has been granted temporary custody of a child will be given the rights to make certain decisions on a child’s behalf. A temporary guardian could, for instance, consent to medical treatment for the child, have access to the child’s school and medical records, consent to the child’s participation in extracurricular activities, and enroll the child in a specific school. These rights, however, will only be granted if the temporary guardian is an adult and is either a stepparent or extended family member of the child in question. Extended family members who can ask the court for temporary custody include: first cousins, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews, and grandparents. For a stepparent to qualify, he or she must still be currently married to the child’s parent.
Finally, to obtain temporary custody of a child, a petitioner will need the consent of both parents or be able to prove that:
- He or she is caring for the child full time in the role of a substitute parent; and
- The child is currently living in his or her household.
If one of the parents challenges the petition, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the parent is unfit and to discuss what type of arrangement would be in a child’s best interests.
Schedule a Consultation with a Knowledgeable Temporary Custody Lawyer
If you are seeking temporary custody of a relative, dedicated lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. is prepared to help with your case. Contact our firm at 954-945-7591, or complete and submit one of our online contact forms to get started.