sad girl with hands against windowThis is the next post in my series on gaining guardianship over a child in Melbourne, Florida. My last article discussed which parties may file for a guardianship in our state. It is important to understand that not just any individual can file for guardianship simply because they believe a child is in danger. Such cases may only be filed by those who are at least third-degree relatives of a child, a stepparent, or a “fictive kin” of the youth. If you are unsure as to whether you have standing to bring such a claim then it is strongly suggested that you speak with an attorney. In this article we will discuss situations in which Courts may be inclined to grant a guardianship to an appropriate party. If you are in need of assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida judges may grant a guardianship if a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected

Florida law permits an appropriate party to file for a guardianship when a child is being abused, neglected, or has been abandoned. If such a situation is occurring, then the process is initiated by filing a Petition for Extended Custody with the Court. It is important for the requesting party to understand, however, what it is that constitutes “abuse, abandonment, or neglect.” In the context of a guardianship case, these terms will be used to define extreme conduct. Spanking a child, for example, does not necessarily constitute “abuse.” Likewise, leaving a young child home for a brief period, on one occasion, is likely negligent but is unlikely to be considered abandonment. Furthermore, simply failing to properly supervise a child is unlikely to be considered “neglect.” These terms are reserved for parents who beat a child, fail to feed them or provide medical care, leave them alone for long stretches on a regular basis, etc.

It is not uncommon for relatives to believe that a child is being “abused” due to a disagreement over what constitutes “good parenting.” It is important for such relatives to understand that disagreements over proper nutrition, a proper bedtime, and other such items are not something over which the Court will grant a guardianship. Unfortunately, some relatives err and take the law into their own hands by attempting to have the child come live with them. At worst, such conduct can result in allegations of kidnapping. At best, they may result in the relative no longer being permitted to see the child. These are reasons why it is crucial to speak with an attorney before attempting to take the law into your own hands.

Contact a Melbourne family law attorney if you wish to gain guardianship over a child

If you are considering requesting guardianship over a minor child then it is crucial that you retain an experienced lawyer to assist you. Counsel can help you in determining whether you have a legitimate claim or whether filing an action would potentially damage your ability to have contact with the child. I am a Melbourne family law attorney with extensive experience in guardianship cases. I understand the serious nature of such situations and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today for assistance. We also serve the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.