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If there is no legal custody agreement and a family member has had your children for 2yrs does that make you an unfit parent?

Jacksonville, FL |

i asked a family member to take care of my children un'till i was able to get on my feet again i remained present in there lives i had them as often as possible. I'm now able to have them back full time I'm afraid she is going to fight me for custody and I'm unaware of what legal grounds she has. i would like to know how to go about this or if i even need to worry about it at all.

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Attorney answers 3


It depends on the circumstances. What have both of you been doing for the past 2 years? The factors in Chapter 61.13(3)(a)through(t) will come into play to determine who is "most fit."

Please be advised that any answers or information disseminated above do not constitute legal advice and that the attorney responsible for this posting is merely attempting to participate in a Q & A session intended to be helpful but certainly not intended to be legal advice. It is important that you understand that no attorney-client relationship has been formed and that the attorney has no obligation to follow up with you with your legal issue unless you separately contact said attorney and arrange for him to legally represent you.


Well first of all -- if there is no court order granting temporary custody to this family member they do not have any rights to keep your child. You can take the child at any point. I am assuming a temporary custody order was never entered, that DCF was never involved, etc?

As far as future legal action or whether you are an unfit parent, more information is needed but nothing will come of it if no legal action is taken.

If legal actions arises, I would recommend consulting with an attorney in your area to discuss further. Many great attorneys can be found here on Avvo and offer free consultations.

/s/ Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esquire
Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A.
37 N. Orange Avenue, Suite 500
Orlando, FL 32801
PH: (407) 354-5223

You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-354-5223. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.


You need to talk to a family law attorney as soon as possible. Ideally, it would have been best if you had some sort of agreement in place prior to the separation. But what's done is done, and anyway people generally do not think of those things when they are in the situation you apparently were in. I agree with Mr. Rosenfelt that the Court will look at a variety of factors to determine who is most fit. Having the child in the care of a relative could be a factor that could go either way as far as who is favored by that fact. I would recommend talking to a family law attorney as soon as possible about this. Good luck!

Please note that the answers provided herein are the attorney's professional opinions based upon the attorney's experience based upon the information provided to the attorney as part of the attorney's participation in the setting of this forum. No responses posted by the attorney in question are intended to be legal advice or professional advice of any kind. No attorney-client relationship is being established or solicited. The attorney will not make any communication with the person asking the question unless that person independently contacts the attorney outside of this forum.

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