Relative Custody

It is common for family members to help each other in providing and caring for children. Often this is done informally and without the need to legally establish a custodial relationship between a child and relative caregiver.

However, sometimes it becomes necessary and the child’s best interest is served by a relative having legal custody of a grandchild, niece, nephew, or stepchild.  Medical service providers, schools and others do not always accept notarized authorizations from parents intended to allow relatives to consent to medical treatment or enroll children in school, access records or make other decisions for children.

There are 2 options under Florida Family Law for relatives (within the 3rddegree of a parent) or a stepparent to obtain legal custody of a child or children.

One form of relative custody is called Temporary Custody by Extended Family.  The term “Temporary” is used because the parents’ rights and responsibilities are still in place.  However, the relative with a court order for Temporary Custody by Extended Family also has all the rights and responsibilities of a parent.  Such an order will be in effect until terminated by further court order.  The order may be in effect for a brief time, or it may last until a child reaches the age of majority.  An order granting Temporary Custody by Extended Family may contain provisions for a parent or parents to have contact with the child.  The parents’ contact with a child can be limited or restricted for good cause.  A parent seeking to end or terminate an order for Temporary Custody by Extended Family and regain legal custody of a child may have to demonstrate that she or he is a “fit” parent as defined by law.  Or, such an order can be terminated by agreement of all parties.

Another form of relative custody is called Concurrent Custody by Extended Family.  This is best understood as a shared custody arrangement with parents.  While parents retain their rights and responsibilities, the order for Concurrent Custody by Extended Family also affords the relative with rights and responsibilities of a parent.  Under an order for Concurrent Custody there can be no restrictions on parents having access and physical custody of a child.  And an order for Concurrent Custody by Extended Family can be terminated at any time by a parent making a request of the court to do so.

When deciding how best to care for children it is important to consider these forms of relative custody in addition to adoption or legal custody through a Child Protection Services Case.

Please contact me at any time to further discuss your circumstances and options for care of a child.

Florida Child Protection Services
Father's Rights Attorney