Florida Court Explains Grounds for Granting a Family Member Custody of a Child

In Florida child custody cases, the courts will always rule in the best interest of the child. In some instances, this means that they will grant temporary custody to an extended family member rather than either of the biological parents. The courts can only do so if certain requirements are met, though, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Florida court. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is prudent to confer with a Miami child custody attorney about your options.

Procedural and Factual Background

It is reported that the mother of a minor child sought to challenge a trial court order that granted immediate exclusive custody and care of the minor child to the child’s maternal grandmother. This case revolved around the issue of whether the grandmother qualified for temporary custody under Chapter 751 of the Florida Statutes in 2022. Chapter 751 permits extended family members to pursue temporary custody of minors under specific circumstances. Specifically, it allows proceedings to be initiated either by any extended family member, if they have the signed and notarized consent of the child’s legal parents. It also allows any member of the extended family to initiate proceedings if they care for the child full time, taking on the role of the substitute parent and with whom the child is presently living.

Allegedly, the grandmother did not meet either of these criteria when she filed her petition for temporary custody. Namely, he was neither caring for the minor at the time nor did she have the consent of a parent of the minor. Regardless, the court granted her temporary custody of the minor child. The mother subsequently appealed.

Requirements for Granting an Extended Family Member Temporary Custody of a Child

Upon review, the appellate court found that the grandmother did not qualify for temporary custody under the specific provisions of Chapter 751. Since she did not meet the criteria set forth in the statute, the court determined that the trial court’s order granting her immediate exclusive custody and care of the minor child was in error.

As such, the court ruled to reverse the court’s order and remanded the case with instructions for the entry of a dismissal without prejudice. The court noted that the decision to dismiss the case without prejudice allowed for the recognition that proceedings pending at the time of the appeal’s filing may have an impact on Sharon Farmer’s entitlement to proceed under the statute in the future.

Met with a Capable Miami Attorney

While the Florida courts appreciate the importance of maintaining the relationship between children and their parents, in some child custody actions, they will find it to be in a child’s best interest to grant parental rights to an extended family member. If you need help navigating the complexities of a child custody dispute, it is smart to meet with an attorney. The capable Miami family law lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. possess the skills and resources needed to obtain positive outcomes, and if you hire us, we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to arrange a meeting.