The vast majority of child custody cases that come before a Florida court involves two parents who are struggling over the care and custody of their shared child or children. However, not every child custody matter fits that mold. In some cases, family members other than a child's natural parents enter the scene, and these concerned parties may encounter a great deal of difficulty in securing child custody rights, even when the parents are clearly unable to provide for the care of their children.
An example lies in the story of one Florida family, which has made headlines across the state. A social worker was driving past a Miami home when she observed a young child trying to keep a toddler from walking into the roadway. The worker stopped, and when she entered the children's home she found that no parent was present. In addition, the home was filthy, and not a fit environment for children.
There were a total of three children living within the home, all of whom were removed and placed with a family member for temporary emergency custody. A judge ordered that the great-grandmother of the three children would be responsible for their care until a long-term solution could be reached. The woman was ordered not to allow the children to leave with their parents.
This family will likely continue to appear in Florida family court to decide a permanent placement for the three children. Should the great-grandmother or another family member wish to gain permanent child custody rights, they may encounter difficulty. Removing a child from the care of a natural parent can be an uphill battle, even in cases in which the parent or parents are unfit. In such scenarios, the family member who seeks custody must make every effort to obtain comprehensive knowledge of Florida child custody laws.
Source: NBC Miami, Great-Grandmother Gets Custody of Children Living in 'Filthy' House, Diana Gonzalez, Sep. 7, 2013