A parent is diagnosed with a severe illness or condition that prevents the parent from caring for the child
The parent abandons the child
A child has been living with an extended family member who needs authority to make legal decisions for the child
There is abuse or neglect by the parent
The child requires special care that the parent cannot provide
Extended family members who may have temporary custody according to Florida laws include:
Aunts and uncles
Step-parents who are married to one of the child’s legal guardians
Parental consent is not required for the court to award temporary custody to an extended family member. In most cases, the court finds that the parent cannot or will not care for the child. Therefore, it is in the child’s best interest to be placed with an extended family member.
How Can Temporary Custody to Extended Family Members End?
Unlike temporary custody in a divorce case or custody battle, temporary custody granted to an extended family member has no set end date. A judge could set an ending date in some cases, but generally, there is no expiration date for the temporary custody.
For temporary custody to end, the extended family member could voluntarily relinquish custody back to one or both of the child’s parents. Alternatively, the child’s parents could petition the court to end temporary custody.
However, if a parent petitions to end temporary custody awarded to an extended family member, the court will review the case to determine what is in the child’s best interest. If the judge finds that continuing temporary custody with the extended family member is best for the child, the judge denies the parent’s petition for custody.
Challenging an Award for Temporary Custody with an Extended Family Member
A parent may fight a petition or action to grant temporary custody to an extended family member. However, as in other custody cases, the child’s best interests are the controlling factor in the custody decision.
Without a parent’s consent, the extended family member must prove that it is in the best interest of the child to remove custody from the parent.
However, the parent should be ready to fight as well. The parent needs to prove that the child would be better off remaining with the parent instead of custody being transferred to the extended family member.
As in other custody cases, the judge considers multiple factors to determine what is in the child’s best interest. Factors the judge might consider in a temporary custody case involving an extended family member include: