All too often a primary custodial parent is unable to provide a safe and stable home for a child. Whether the parent’s problem relates to alcohol or drug abuse, criminal activity, mental illness, or disability resulting from an accident, grandparents or other relatives of the parent might want to intervene on the child’s behalf. But they may find that they have no right of access to school records, medical information, or other data essential to the proper care of the child.
If you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling or other adult relative of a child who might need your continuing care for an indefinite period, contact an experienced family law attorney at the Lasky Law Firm for dependable advice about your rights and alternatives.
Under Florida law, relatives and grandparents’ rights to visitation or child custody are conditioned upon certain circumstances, absent such unusual circumstances as problems at the child’s primary residence or the inability of the parent to provide proper care. In those situations, we can advise you about the possibility of an order for temporary custody of the child from a family court judge in what’s known as a Chapter 751 proceeding. The judges of family court are usually quick to recognize that a grandparent’s home is often the best placement option for children in trouble at home. Temporary custody can be the ideal alternative to formal juvenile dependency proceedings, foster care placement, or termination of parental rights.
Guardianship on either a temporary or permanent basis is another option, but petitions to appoint a grandparent or other relative as a guardian of a dependent child are heard in probate court, not family court. Probate judges tend to have less experience with the realities of family problems and the best interests of children, so we usually recommend family court proceedings as an alternative to guardianship.
For additional information about the right of a grandparent or other relative to assume temporary parental responsibility for a child who needs help, contact a knowledgeable lawyer at the Lasky Law Firm in Jacksonville.
Please note, all information herein is provided for general informational purposes only. The information herein is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Different factual scenarios may yield different results. In addition, several other factors must be considered in each individual case, and those factors can only be ascertained by speaking directly to an attorney.