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What Is The Difference Between Temporary Custody By An Extended Family Member And Legal Guardianship?


Temporary custody and legal guardianship share several similarities, but there are differences as well. In this article, the Orlando family law attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law will discuss temporary custody by an extended family member and legal guardianship.

Temporary custody by an extended family member 

Chapter 751 of the Florida Statutes addresses temporary custody by an extended family member. An extended family member is defined as any individual who is related to the child within the three degrees of separation by blood or marriage to the parent. This chapter discusses how, for a temporary time period, the child will have a family member who exercises parental rights over the child. This can be achieved by granting custody to an extended family member on a temporary basis.

This might be a wise choice when a child must travel to another city to attend school or receive medical care. Temporary custody allows a family member to exert legal rights over the child. This includes making decisions on behalf of the child concerning their medical care, schooling, and religious upbringing. The family member would essentially have the same rights as the parents in these situations.

To qualify as a custodian, the extended family member must have 30 days worth of contact with the child over the past 12 months. There are instances in which a court deems parents unfit to parent and that would be when an extended family member steps into parent on the actual parent’s behalf.

What is legal guardianship? 

Legal guardianship is similar to temporary custody by an extended family member. One major difference, however, is that you do not need to be a family member to apply for legal guardianship of a minor. You could, for instance, be a friend of the family. A person who serves as a legal guardian must meet specific qualifications under Florida law. The courts will grant temporary custody much more liberally than they would legal guardianship. An individual who is applying for guardianship of a child must pass a criminal background check. A felon, for instance, would not be allowed to act as a legal guardian. A guardian must also provide a credit report and must be fingerprinted. Parental rights are not terminated when a legal guardian is appointed to a child. The legal guardian is required to take a course to understand their responsibilities. The course is usually available online.

Unlike temporary custody, guardianship is generally granted until the child turns 18. There are some cases where an individual can be granted guardianship over a disabled adult.

Talk to an Orlando Family Law Attorney Today 

The Orlando child custody attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law represent the interests of parents and guardians in matters of child custody. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your custody arrangements right away.

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