One of the biggest issues in child custody law today is the question of whether extended family members have the right to take custody of minor children when their parents cannot care for them. In Florida, there is a clear statutory provision for extended family members to take custody and care for children within the family structure, and a Fort Myers family law attorney can help you if you need to make this kind of custodial change for a child.

How Temporary Custody for Extended Family Works

The law does not allow for extended family members to sue for permanent custody, but it does allow them to be granted custody until such time as the child’s parents can provide care again. Those circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness
  • Incarceration
  • Drug or alcohol dependence
  • Military deployment

To petition the court for custody as an extended relative, you either need the notarized, signed consent of the child’s custodial parents or proof the child is currently living with you and receiving care. You also need to be a blood relative with at least a third-degree relation to the child. Lastly, step-parents cannot take temporary custody if they are currently in a divorce proceeding against the biological parent.

Get Help from a Fort Myers Family Law Attorney

Custodial changes require a petition to the court, whether you are the parent seeking to regain custody after a temporary reallocation or the relative seeking temporary custody. When the time comes to file those petitions, legal help can make sure you have a smooth experience with minimal delays. Please contact us today for more information and a free phone consultation at (239) 333-0077 OR fill out the online contact form.