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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default How to Get Temporary Guardianship or Custody of a Grandchild

    My question involves grandparents rights in the State of: Florida

    Hello, I am seeking advice on how to go about getting voluntary temporary legal guardianship and or custody of my 2 grandchild. Short promo: parents were young when they got married, they tried it for about 4 yrs and its just not working out for them so they have decided to get a divorce. They are trying to go through a simpler non contested divorce with idea to remain friends and co parents--shared custody. However she has no real means to support herself beside child support. And we recognize that there are programs out there to assist, but what she really wants to do is to go to college.

    I am supporting her this decision because she needs some education as she has never worked outside of the home. She wants the opportunity I think to grow up, she was 18 when she had her first baby. And I think she needs time to grow up too. He does work and he does go to school already, but think he needs some time as well. So my husband and myself have offered to take the babies in on temporary bases so she can go to school full time as well. She wants to get a apartment near the school or to reside in dorm. So knock wood there are no battle here. This would just be on a temporary bases, a yr at least perhaps longer if she decides to further her education after she’s complete the program she has enrolled in.

    What I need to know is what my husband and I will need so that we can get the babies on our insurance--and be able to make decision with regards to medical care etc in their--the parents absence. And the kids have agreed to pay child support to us/ and or to help support them while the babies are living with us and they are rebuilding own lives. And I do not really care about that, other than fact that they need to be financially responsible for the babies because this is all part of the package of maturity and being a parent. My husband and I have all along financially helped them, so this will continue to a certain extent. I am just trying to find out if there is a means to go at this, get a legal temporary guardianship and or custody without having to go the expense of an attorney. We reside in Florida. And this is not a case of grandparents trying to seek full custody. As mentioned the plan is just a temporary situation.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance, advice and tips.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: How to Go About Voluntary Temporary Legal Guardianship/ Custody for Grandchildren

    I can address the insurance question, but I'm not going to guarantee you success. I can, however, tell you what steps you can take to TRY.

    I am assuming that you have insurance through your employer or your husband's employer. If that is not the case, ignore everything I am about to say and call your insurance carrier.

    You will not be able to add your grandchildren to your health insurance until after you have already been granted guardianship, even if it is temporary. But be standing by ready to go, because you will only have 30 days once the guardianship is granted to add them.

    The first thing to do, and you can do this ahead of time before the guardianship is granted, is to contact your HR or Benefits department; tell them that you may be getting guardianship of your grandchildren and whether, once the guardianship is formalized by the court, the children would be eligible to be covered on your insurance. The answer is *probably* yes, but it is not guaranteed, and only they can say for certain.

    If the answer is no, then it's Game Over. If children for whom you are the legal guardian are not eligible dependents under your health insurance plan, then there is NOTHING you can do to force the issue and you would be wasting your time to try. This is VERY clear in the law and it is SET IN STONE. If HR or Benefits says no, they are not eligible, accept it and buy an individual policy for the kids. You will NOT win that battle. It will not be a case of HR being obstructionist, it will be a case of HR following the law. They CANNOT legally add the kids to the plan if your legal wards are not eligible under the plan document.

    If, however, HR says yes, they will be eligible (and this is the answer I expect - most plans have that provision) they will need to tell you exactly what paperwork will be needed. At minimum they will need a copy of the court order granting you guardianship. They may need you to complete enrollment forms. They may need you to go online to enroll them. They may have other paperwork or forms that are required. It's not impossible that they may need a letter showing the cancellation of any other coverage they may have had. But they will be able to tell you what, besides the court order which I guarantee you will need, is required under their policy and system.

    Once the guardianship is granted you will, as I said, have only 30 days from the date of the order to enroll the children on your health insurance. This, also, is set in stone. (It's barely possible that your employer may allow longer - my employer allows 60 days. But we are very, very much the exception and I wouldn't count on it. It will not be less than 30 for sure - you have 30 days under the law. But it's so unlikely to be anything more than 30 that it's almost not worth mentioning. The limit, whatever the limit is, is non-negotiable. This is also the law.) So you'll want to get the court order, whatever other papers they've requested, or do your online enrollment as quickly as you can. 30 days goes by pretty fast.

    (It is not outside the realm of possibility that your HR department will say yes, you can add the children, but not until the next open enrollment. As above, don't bother trying to fight this. You should be able to buy a short term policy for the kids in that event. I don't really anticipate that being an issue but it can't be completely ruled out.)

    The insurance will begin on the date that the court order is effective, and, if the guardianship is temporary, will stop on the day it expires.

    This is what I do for a living, so please feel free to ask questions if any of this is unclear.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: How to Go About Voluntary Temporary Legal Guardianship/ Custody for Grandchildren

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I have already checked with our insurance and we can get them on as long as we have legal guardianship/ custody of them--temporary or otherwise. This is why we are going the legal route. But i did not now about the 30 days window so thank you for that. We had checked into the matter as far as insurance about a yr ago when the kids were talking about divorce then. My husband then talked them into trying for a while longer and we made some changes--the babies started to come and stay with us half the week on regular bases/schedule; our thinking being they just needed some alone time together so they could be a young couple. They have now been living apart for three weeks and are both settled on the idea of a divorce. She has enrolled in college for the fall semester. The babies are staying with us full time right now and they just trade off on the apartment they were sharing--the other stays with us. This way the babies continue to have somewhat of a stable life and the parents come and go. But she would like to get a room at the dorm when college starts and he is planning on taking a smaller apartment once the lease on their current 2 bedrm place they share is up so that he can assist her with living expenses while she is in school as well as pay child support.

    They are seemingly cooperating with each other. Coached by myself and husband to do so for the sake of the babies. Neither one of them are trying to shirk their responsibilities for the babies, they just are not equipped financially and otherwise to handle full time custody on their own. It was trying and difficult for them while they were a team, hence the reason we were and have been helping them so much.

    What I am trying to find out is if we need to retain an attorney for this. I found documents which the kids can fill in and sign with a notary, and then it appears my husband and I will need to petition the court with the forms kids sign and our petition filled in for ‘legal’ end of it.

    Once again thank you for your response.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: How to Go About Voluntary Temporary Legal Guardianship/ Custody for Grandchildren

    This is not a difficult thing to do. Call a few attorneys and ask what they would charge to draw up and file the papers with the court. With everyone in agreement, it is very simple for an attorney to do. It would also be easy to mess up if you aren't an attorney so it is worth a few hundred dollars.

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