Being part of a family means stepping up to help when a loved one is in need. You may have a family member who is unable to take care of his or her young children due to a temporary situation. Examples include a medical condition or disability that affects a parent’s ability to care for children on a short-term basis.

We know that you want to step up and help your loved ones in a difficult situation. However, you may not know how to go about it. As an extended family member, Florida statutes allow you to file a petition for temporary custody of minor children.

Who can file for temporary custody?

If you are the child’s stepparent and you and the child’s biological parent are still married and not in the process of separating, you can file a petition for temporary custody. You can also file for temporary custody if you are a relative of the child’s parent within the third degree by blood or marriage. The following relatives can qualify:

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts
  • Uncles
  • Siblings
  • First cousins

What do you need to file a petition?

You will need the consent of the child’s parent or documentation of a parent’s neglect, abuse or abandonment of the child that would justify the temporary custody arrangement without the parent’s permission. You must also demonstrate your relationship to the child and document the names and addresses of you, the child and the child’s parent.

What are your responsibilities? 

While you have temporary custody of the child of a relative, you have both the right and the responsibility to do everything necessary for the child’s care. This includes enrolling the child in school and consenting to reasonable dental and medical care.