Temporary Custody by Extended Family Member

Temporary Custody by Extended Family Member

What happens when you need to care for a child of your family, perhaps a grandchild, or a niece/nephew? Perhaps the parent(s) have left the child in your custody and has asked that you care for the child for a short time until they can get back into a position where they can care for the child. However, since you have no legal right to the children, what can you do if they need medical attention, or some other kind of decision needs to be made that only a person with custody can give?

Florida Statute §751 grants the court the power to give an “extended family member” custody over the child. An extended family member is defined as “A relative of a minor child within the third degree by blood or marriage to the parent; or the stepparent of a minor child if the stepparent is currently married to the parent of the child and is not a party in a pending dissolution, separate maintenance, domestic violence, or other civil or criminal proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction involving one or both of the child’s parents as an adverse party.”

Once custody is granted to an “extended family member” either or both of the child’s parents may petition the court to modify or terminate the order granting temporary custody. The court shall terminate the order upon a finding that the parent is a fit parent, or by consent of the parties.

We use the remedy in law to help relatives obtain custody over the children of family members that need help raising their children. Once the custody is obtained by an “extended family member,” it can only revert back to the parent, if that parent is fit to raise the child.