There are times in life when for a parent to best care for their child, they must ask for help. Often this assistance comes in the form of asking a family member to take care of the child for a while. Florida law recognizes that extended families providing for children in this way may need concurrent or temporary custody to allow them to function as parents in some important ways.
Concurrent or temporary custody
One of the main reasons these caregiving relatives may need concurrent custody (having custody rights alongside the parent or parents) or temporary custody (temporarily having custody instead of the parent or parents) is so that they can consent to medical and dental treatment for the child. They also may need to access the child’s health care records, birth certificates, school records and other documents. They may need to enroll the child in school and consent or not consent to educational testing or programs.
These powers and the right to “[d]o all other things necessary for the care of the child” would be available through concurrent or temporary child custody.
Who is an extended family member?
Under the law, an “extended family member” for this purpose is either of these:
- A relative “within the third degree by blood or marriage to the parent”
- A stepparent married to the child’s parent (with some exception if the stepparent is involved in certain pending civil or criminal court proceedings involving the parent or parents)
- An unrelated person who is “fictive kin,” meaning that they have an “emotionally significant relationship” with “characteristics of a family relationship” with the child
Petition for temporary or concurrent custody
Florida law sets out detailed requirements for eligibility for custody in this situation as well as for how to file a petition in court. A family lawyer can answer questions and assist with the petition and proceedings.
In part 3 of this post, we will talk about the possibility of a child living with a relative in shelter care.