In the State of Florida, the temporary custody of minor children can be awarded to an extended family member. Chapter 751 of the Florida Statues, sets forth the requirements that must be met in order for custody of a minor child to be awarded to an extended family member.
The purpose of Chapter 751 is to provide for the welfare of a minor child who is living with extended family members. These family members are unable to give complete care to the child in their custody because they lack a legal document that explains and defines their relationship to the child, and they are unable to effectively consent to the care of the child by third parties. When custody is awarded to an extended family member under Chapter 751, the extended family member can consent to all necessary and reasonable medical and dental care for the child, including non-emergency surgery and psychiatric care. Additionally, the extended family member can secure copies of the minor child’s records, held by third parties, that are necessary for the care of the child, including but not limited to:
1. Medical, dental, and psychiatric records.
2. Birth certificates and other records.
3. Educational records.
The extended family members, who are awarded temporary custody under Chapter 751, can also enroll the child in school and grant or withhold consent for a child to be tested or placed in special school programs, including exceptional education. In essence, the extended family member, under Chapter 751, can do all other things necessary for the care of the child.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 751.011, an extended family member means a person who is:
(a) A relative of a minor child within the third degree by blood or marriage to the parent; or
(b) The stepparent of a minor child if the stepparent is currently married to the parent and is not a party in a pending divorce case or other civil or criminal proceeding involving one or both of the child’s parents as an adverse party.
To obtain additional information concerning extended family members obtaining temporary custody of a minor child, contact Tampa Family and Divorce Attorney Nilo J. Sanchez Jr.