Legal Information: Florida

Custody

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Updated: 
December 21, 2018

I am a member of the child’s extended family. Can I get temporary or concurrent custody of the child?

Possibly. If you are an extended family member of the child (a brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, step-parent, etc.), there are two types of custody petitions that you may file.

Temporary custody is when you have legal custody over the child for a specific, period of time and during that time, you (not the parents) have decision-making power for the child (i.e., you have the right to consent to all necessary medical and dental care, to get copies of the child's records, to enroll the child in school, etc). You may file a petition for temporary legal custody of the child if:

  • you have the signed, notarized consent of the child's legal parents; or
  • the child is living with you and you are caring full time for the child in the role of a substitute parent.1

Temporary custody can granted over a parent's objection. If one or both of the parents object to you having temporary custody, you have to prove that the child's parents are unfit to provide the proper care and control of the child because the parent has abused, abandoned, or neglected the child. If you do get temporary custody, the court can order visitation rights to the parent(s) if it is in the child’s best interests to do so.2

Concurrent custody is when you and the parent(s) both have custody rights to the child for a specific, temporary period of time.3 Concurrent custody does not eliminate or lessen the custodial rights of the child's parent(s) and they can get physical custody of the child back at any time. Concurrent custody can only be granted when both parents agree to it - if one parent objects, you cannot get concurrent custody.4

You may file a petition for concurrent custody of the child if:

  • you have the signed, notarized consent of the child's legal parents; or
  • the child is living with you and you are caring full time for the child in the role of a substitute parent and both of the following are true:
    • you currently have physical custody of the child and have had physical custody for at least 10 days in any 30-day period within the last 12 months; and
    • you do not have signed, written documentation from a parent that would allow you to do all of the things necessary to care for the child instead of the parent (since that would be what you would get with temporary legal custody, not concurrent custody).5

Note: Either a temporary or concurrent custody can entitle you to collect child support.6

1 F.S.A. § 751.02(1)
2 F.S.A. § 751.05(3)(b) & (4)(b)
3 F.S.A. §751.011(1)
4 F.S.A § 751.05(3)(a)
5 F.S.A § 751.02(2)
6 F.S.A. § 751.05(5)(b)