Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Clearwater Divorce Lawyer (Based on 36 Reviews)
727-683-1472 801 West Bay Drive, Suite 713
Largo, FL 33770
Mon - Fri 8:30 am- 5:00 pm Evening and Weekend Appts Available

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


While there are a lot of similarities between temporary custody by an extended family member and guardianship, there are also some key differences. Understanding these differences is critical for anyone who is deciding whether these forms of custody or guardianship are right for their family.

Temporary Custody by an Extended Family Member 

In Florida, extended family members can seek temporary custody of a relative’s child in certain situations. However, to qualify the person seeking temporary custody must:

  • Be related to a child within the third degree, either by blood or marriage (to the parent); and
  • Have had at least 30 days of contact with the child in the last 12 months.

During this time, the person granted temporary custody will exercise parental rights, shouldering the burden of decision making responsibility and parenting time, which means that he or she can authorize medical care, make education-related decisions, and act as parent in most legal situations. In some cases, custody can be granted to a family member rather than a parent, while in others, the relative can be granted joint custody with a parent. This type of custody arrangement is often suitable for children who must travel to another city to attend school or receive medical care and a relative who is in the best position to provide care and supervision lives in that same city, or when parents are unable to care for the child while attending rehabilitation for drug or alcohol abuse.


 Being named a child’s legal guardian means that the individual in question can make decisions on a child’s behalf, usually in cases where a child’s parents pass away or are deemed unfit as parents. In these situations, the court can step in and appoint a guardian who will provide care and support for that child until he or she turns 18 years old. Guardians can also be appointed to oversee a child’s finances if he or she received an inheritance or was awarded damages in a lawsuit. It is also possible for a parent to preemptively choose a guardian for a child and many do so in their wills.

Guardianship, while similar to temporary custody by an extended relative, is also different in some key ways. For instance, a person does not have to be a child’s relative in order to apply to be his or her guardian. Before someone can be chosen as a child’s legal guardian, he or she must:

  • Be physically and mentally capable of caring for a child;
  • Undergo and pass a criminal background check;
  • Provide the court with a credit report and a copy of his or her fingerprints; and
  • Take a course to learn more about the legal responsibilities of being a guardian.

Finally, unlike temporary custody, which is granted on a temporary basis, guardianship typically continues until a child is no longer a minor.

Contact Our Experienced Clearwater Child Custody Lawyers 

If you need help determining whether temporary custody or guardianship best suits your family’s needs, call the skilled Clearwater child custody attorneys at Cairns Law today. You can reach us by calling 727-683-1472 or by sending us an online message.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Request A

If you have any questions or comments please fill out the following form and one of our representatives will contact you as soon as possible.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms