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What is Concurrent Custody and Do You Need It?
There is new label for situations involving families called "boomerang children." Think of an Australian boomerang and picture adult children moving back in with their parents after having moved out on their own. It also refers to adult children who are still financially supported by their parents after they have moved out.
The current economic conditions make it difficult for young adults to find employment and make it on their own. This becomes even more difficult if they have children. Grandparents are finding themselves not only helping their children but their grandchildren as well.
In many cases the grandparents become the caretakers of the grandchildren while the parents seek employment. Sometimes this may be close to home, or in many situations parents need to travel far to get work. There is a growing number of young people entering the military and leaving the children with the grandparents when they are deployed.
What is concurrent custody?
What does a relative do if they find themselves taking care of the minor children while the parents are not available? What if they need to take the child to a doctor or seek emergency treatment and the parent isn't able to sign for the child? Are the grandparents recognized without authority from a court? The answer is No. There is however, a solution!
Concurrent custody is a legal document awarded by the court to give custodial rights to both the caregivers and the parents. This allows the parents to continue having legal custody and does not interfere with their parental rights. It allows the caregiver the same authority to better care for the child in their physical custody. Both the parents and the extended family members must agree that this is in the best interest of the child.
What are the benefits?
The parties petition the court for concurrent custody, and after the court decides it is in the best interest of the child the order is signed. This allows all the concurrent custodians to consent to all necessary medical and dental care for the child. It allows all the custodians to secure copies of the child's records. It allows the custodians to enroll the child in school. It gives authority to do all things necessary for the care of the child.
When families work together for the welfare of the minor children, this document can make the situation a little easier for everyone. It can give a parent peace of mind that their child will be well cared for and it gives the relative peace of mind that they have the tools to do so.
When does it end?
When the family decides that all is stable and the parents are able to handle the minor children without the extended families' help, the parties can petition the court to modify or terminate this arrangement. There is usually no ending date on the order because this situation may be needed for years or indefinitely. When the child reaches eighteen years old, the child is an adult and the custody is not an issue anymore.
The Relative Caregivers Project of Legal Aid of Palm Beach County can answer any questions you might have concerning concurrent custody for extended family members. Please call (561) 655-8944 for more information.
IMPORTANT: The information on this Website is not intended as legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. and any person obtaining information from this website. Public benefits and other laws change frequently. We strive to keep this website up to date but cannot provide a guarantee that this information is accurate as of the time you are reading it.
The Legal Aid Society's Relative Caregivers Project is a program of the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County, an independent district established by Palm Beach County voters in 1986. The Council provides leadership, funding and research on behalf of Palm Beach County's children so they are born healthy, are growing up safe, and are ready to learn.