What Does "Temporary Custody by Extended Family" Mean?

In situations where a parent is unable to care for their child, often due to criminal, financial or substance abuse issues, a member of the child's extended family may petition the court to be awarded temporary custody of the child. The temporary custody may be awarded with the express, written consent of the parents or it may be awarded over the objection of one or both of the parents.

An award of temporary custody permits the family member to enroll the child in school, authorize health care, and obtain financial support for the child. Typically, if the parents both agree to the temporary custody, they will sign written consent forms and the court will award temporary care and custody of the child to the family member.

However, in situations where the parents are unwilling to both agree to the temporary custody, the court may award the family member temporary custody over the parents objections, and without their consent, if the family member can prove to the court that the parents have abused, abandoned or neglected the child.

An award of temporary custody is superior to a power of attorney or similar document because it is a court order awarding and granting parental rights and responsibility for a child that schools, daycare providers, and healthcare providers must recognize. Temporary custody proceedings are created and governed by Florida Statute 751.