If you are a grandparent living in Hollywood, FL or a nearby area and are wanting to obtain custody of your grandchild, there are certain ways you can do this although it depends on whether the child is dependent on the state. A child that is considered to be dependent on the state may have been “abused, neglected, or abandoned by a parent” and the family “receives ongoing supervision by a caseworker from a local Community-Based Care (CBC) provider” [Source: University of Florida]. Families that do not have dependent children would not be supervised by a CBC provider.
What are my custody options if my grandchild is not considered a dependent?
The custody options are as follows:
- Informal/Physical Custody with No Court Order
If you are merely caring for your grandchild but no court order has been put into place, you would not have the legal right to make any important decisions for the child unless an emergency situation arises. Under these circumstances, a child’s parent:
- Can take the child back at any time.
- Still has legal rights.
- Maintains the right to make legal decisions.
In order to obtain legal custody of your grandchild, a court order must be put into place and/or a parent must agree on the grandparent obtaining custody of the child. Under these circumstances, a grandparent would not be required to prove the child’s parent is unfit, that is, unless the parent refuses to agree to the custody order. When custody is awarded to a grandparent, they are able to make more important decisions for their grandchild, however, the custody order will stipulate the actual decisions they are entitled to make. And if a parent wishes to regain their rights as a parent, they would need to obtain a court order first.
If you are looking to gain full authority over your grandchild, you must obtain a court order first. If you are successful at receiving guardianship over your grandchild, you would care for the child until they reach the age of 18. While the child’s parent wouldn’t be permitted to make decisions regarding their child, they can still request that the court order be terminated, although there is no guarantee that they will be granted their request.
Another option you have is to adopt your grandchild. You can do this by receiving consent from the child’s parent or when the court has terminated parental rights. If you were to adopt your grandchild, you would gain full authority over the child, however, you would no longer be eligible for state benefits unless you are income eligible.
To learn about the custody options that are available to you when your grandchild is dependent upon the state, visit the University of Florida website and review the contents found in Table 2.
Obtaining custody over a grandchild can be a complicated process to go through, especially if you don’t have a knowledgeable FL family law attorney helping you and guiding you through it. Therefore, if you are interested in gaining legal custody over your grandchild(ren) and would like to learn more about the steps you need to take to initiate the process, contact USAttorneys.com Our office has helped many individuals get through family-related matters including divorce, child custody, child support, etc. and is more than qualified to help you with your matter as well.