A court generally recognizes legal parents as the only legal parents with the right to make decisions for and to raise a child; a court will generally not recognize rights of third parties, such as grandparents or stepparents, if they have not already adopted the child.
While generally, third parties have no parental rights, Florida family law recognizes that at times parents may become unable to provide for the care of their child (or children), and that placing the child with a family member may be in the child’s best interest. Florida law allows for an extended family member to petition the court for temporary custody of minor child. A gran t of temporary custody will allow the extended family member to temporarily obtain and exercise the same parental rights as the natural parents.
If both of the parents consent to the family member’s taking temporary custody, the Court will grant the petition, as long as it finds that it is in the best interest of the child. However, if either of the parents does not consent, then it must be shown–and the Court must find–“by clear and convincing evidence” that the parent or parents are unfit to provide for the care of the child. The Court determines that parents are unfit if they have abused, abandoned or neglected the child.
Our dedicated team is prepared to handle temporary custody matters for individuals and families in Central Florida. We will help guide you through the legal process, from filing the necessary court documents to representing you in family court. We will advocate for you every step of the way.