Child custody issues in the State of Florida are guided by the best interests of the child; and the rights of the parents are presumed to be paramount in any child custody proceeding. To obtain custody of a grandchildren in Florida, a grandparent would have to prove that continuing custody by a primary parent - mother or father - is severely detrimental to the child's welfare. Grandparents who wish to obtain custody of a grandchild may file a Petition for Temporary Custody of Minor Child by an Extended Family Member with the court.
Obtain a Petition for Temporary Custody of Minor Child by an Extended Family Member from the court that has jurisdiction. Fill out the form carefully and completely. You may want to consult an attorney as you complete the petition. Child custody matters are highly complex and you must understand the duties and responsibilities of custody and the full consequences of your petition.
Decide whether you are applying for temporary or concurrent custody. Florida law may grant concurrent custody to both parents and grandparents for a period of time, if parents are unable to care for a child. Temporary sole custody gives all rights and responsibilities of custody to the grandparent.
Attempt to get permission from any living parent for custody of your grandchild. Obtain an Answer and Waiver form from the court and have any living parent sign the form. This will indicate that the parent(s) agree with the petition for temporary custody and will not contest it.
Have any living parent served with the temporary custody petition, if you are unable to obtain consent for your petition via an answer and waiver. You can serve a court petition via a process server or through local law enforcement. Wait twenty days for a response from the parent.
If there is no response, request that a default judgment be entered against the parent(s). The court will schedule a default hearing on the matter. If the parent answers the petition and contests custody, then a hearing will be set by the court.
Attend the hearing fully prepared to argue your case. It is best to have an attorney present at this stage. The proceedings can get complicated and the bar is very high if you are attempting to supersede a parent's custodial rights.