There may be instances when a child might need to be placed with extended family members. In those cases, the family court may grant temporary custody. If you are in this situation, it helps to understand the procedure for obtaining temporary custody and your rights as a child’s legal guardian.

What Is Temporary Custody in New Jersey?

Family court judges may grant temporary child custody orders when an immediate need must be addressed. The intent is to ensure the child’s safety until the court can hold a full hearing on the matter. In some instances, the court may grant an emergency child custody order if the child is in immediate threat of harm.

When granting temporary custody orders, a Bergen County family court judge considers:

  • The best interests of the child
  • The fitness of the parent or other guardian
  • The needs of the child
  • The ability of the person to provide for the child’s needs 
  • Other factors that the court deems relevant to custody 

The court may grant visitation as part of a temporary custody order. However, if the court deems a parent unfit or a danger to the child, the court can deny visitation or order supervised visitation. 

How Do I Obtain Temporary Custody as an Extended Family Member?

If you are a grandparent, you may request emergency custody of your grandchild. However, you would need to prove that the child’s parents are unfit or the child is being abused and/or neglected. If this is the situation, you should seek legal advice from an experienced Bergen County child custody lawyer.

You may also contact the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) if the child is being abused or neglected. The DCPP may file for emergency or temporary placement of a child in foster care. The DCPP looks for relatives and family friends familiar with the child to receive a placement. 

However, if you work through DCCP, the department must conduct a home inspection, and everyone in your home aged 18 years and older must pass local police and other background checks. Furthermore, you must be a licensed resource parent to care for a child under DCPP supervision.

These cases can be complex. As a result, family members may want to work with a Bergen County family law attorney to gain temporary custody of a minor child by petitioning the court based on the child’s best interests.

What Does It Mean for Extended Family Members To Have Temporary Custody of a Child?

The only difference between temporary and child custody and a final or permanent child custody order is the duration of the order. A temporary order places a child with someone until the court holds a final hearing. The person with temporary custody has the same rights and obligations as someone with a final custody order.

Physical child custody places the child in the extended family member’s home. The child lives with an extended family member who is responsible for the child’s daily care. In other words, the family member has the duty to feed, clothe, and care for the child’s needs.

Legal child custody gives the extended family member the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. The family member makes decisions related to healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. An extended family member with legal custody also has the right to receive information about the child’s medical and school records.

The temporary custody order may grant visitation for the child’s parents. However, the court might leave that decision to the family member. If so, the family member can decide when and if the child visits with the parent. 

What Should I Do if I Want To Obtain Custody of a Minor Family Member?

If a child is in immediate danger, call the police and child services. The most important thing is to ensure the child’s safety. Then, contact a Bergen County child custody lawyer for help.

When you meet with an attorney, bring as much information and evidence as possible. For instance, if you have evidence of neglect or child abuse, bring the evidence with you to the appointment for the attorney to review. Be prepared to discuss your personal life with the attorney because that could impact the judge’s decision on whether to grant you custody of a child.

An attorney explains the steps to petition the court for custody of your minor family member. They can also provide guidance and advice about ways to improve your chance of obtaining custody and things to avoid that could hurt your case.

Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help

Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Bergen County Law Office
1 University Plaza Dr #400, Hackensack, NJ 07601, United States