Section 751.01 – 751.05, Florida Statutes (2011) permits an extended family member to file for temporary or concurrent custody of a minor child. Here in Duval County, there is a $401 filing fee for this type of Petition.
The purpose of this law is to allow an extended family member (a relative of the child by the 3rd degree by blood or marriage, or a step-parent who is currently married to the parent of the child) to provide better care for a child than the child’s parents can, either concurrently or for a temporary period of time. An Order granting such custody allows the extended family member to secure copies of all medical and other important records of the child, make medical decisions for the child, enroll the child in school etc.
The family member requesting custody must either have (1) both parents’ consent; or (2) evidence which shows the parents have abused, abandoned, or neglected the child (as defined in Chapter 39, Fla. Stat.). Also, the Court must find the custody requested is in the best interest of the child.
I am currently handling a case for a grandmother, who is seeking concurrent custody of her 13 year old granddaughter, and has the consent of both parents to do so. The father is unable to care for the child, and the mother only recently finished a term of incarceration. The grandmother already has a full power of attorney to make decisions for the minor child, however, she needs the Order of Concurrent Custody to be able to apply her retired military benefits to her grandduaghter (who can then have the privilege of those benefits up to 21 years of age). This is one good reason to pursue a custody order, rather than a power of attorney.