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Grandparent And Extended Family Custody In Florida

It hurts to watch; your adult or son or daughter who has custody of a child but is unable to meet the demands of single parenthood. Florida courts regularly have to address the issue of single parents facing incarceration, residential chemecial dependency treatment or even abandonment.

This blog post discusses options grandparents and other extended family members have for seeking financial assistance and other types of help after successfully obtaining temporary or permanent custody of a minor-aged child.

Not A Small Number

Florida is one of the leading states when it comes to the number of children living in the home and under the care of a grandparent or extended family members. Until recently, the custodial relative enjoyed few legal rights regarding the best interests of the child. In most cases, courts sided with either of the biological parents when faced with a dispute about legal decisions. In addition, there were few options available for seeking child support for the cost of raising the child.

But things are starting to change. In an effort to recognize the value of the relative's relationship with the child, the Florida legislature has enacted a law called The Relative Caregiver Program, which provides financial assistance to custodial extended family members for the care and upbringing of dependent children.

Grandparents or relatives who have successfully obtained custody of a child fall into two general categores which determine whether they may also qualify for additional assistance in addition to the financial help.

The two categories are: 

  • A family with a child dependent upon the state: Children can be assigned as a dependent of the state if they have been abandoned, neglected or abused. Another legal term you may hear these children referred to is "adjudicated dependents." Grandparents who have obtained custody of an adjudicated child will receive supervision by a case worker assigned from the local Community-Based Care (CBC) office.
  • A family without an adjudicated dependent: These grandparents are eligible for financial assistance but will not receive ongoing supervision by a CBC provider

If you are a grandparent or extended relative of a child you have custody over, or are seeking custody of, talk to an experienced family law attorney about the programs that are available to you from the State of Florida.

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