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My parents had custody of niece. they gave me temp guardianship. they passed away, is my guardianship valid still?

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Im an aunt to teen with autism. my parents had custody since she was two. my father passed away 2012, my mother last month. Jan 2013 my mother gave me temp guardianship, so did the childs biological father, my brother. the biological mother no where to be found. neither bio parent has been in her life since age 2. I reside in AL, my niece in Fl. . i have placed my niece with a caregiver so my niece can finish the school year. my questions: 1) is my temporary guardianship still legal since my mother passed away? did my brother have legal right to give me temp guardianship ( he still had parental rights)? 3) how do I get guardianship and keep her out of foster care? Id do pro se in Florida but I do not want to risk her being placed in foster care awaiting any decisions.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. I don't understand what you mean when you say that your mother gave you temporary guardianship. Only a court can establish a guardianship. If the court awarded you temporary guardianship, then only the court can revoke it. If your mother gave you power of attorney it would have ceased when she died.

  2. First, I'm sorry for your losses. And I agree with Mr. Davis - I don't quite understand your mother "giving" you custody. It sounds like an informal arrangement and that there is not a court order that transferred custody formally to you. From what you've stated, it does not sound like you have legal custody. You need to look for an attorney in Florida that handles guardianship or dependency matters and get a court order formally awarding you custody. You will probably be granted temporary custody on an emergency basis and the court will need to send a notice to the father and the last known address of the mother and a hearing held before permanent custody is awarded to you. In any event, there is a "find a lawyer" tab here on the Avvo site. Also, it would help if you had your mother's papers to show the attorney. She may even have in her effects the paperwork from the original attorney who drafted the custody documents. If so, that attorney would be a good place to start. Oh, and make sure the caregiver and school have good contact information for you if an emergency arises.

    DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only. The information should not be construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any response given does not result in any further obligation to provide an additional response. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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