Children Custody

Question:Can I grant a family member temporary custody rights?

I am getting ready to file for Divorce and have a complicated situation with custody. My husband recently came back from the military but he will be leaving again in 2 months. I have to leave the country for my job for about 3 months and I have a lot of traveling coming up with work. I would like my Sister to have custody rights, is it possible to grant a family member temporary custody rights?

Answer:

You should consult an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options under the laws and procedures governing the award and transfer of child custody in your state.  Please note that “custody rights” means having the legal power to independently control all decisions controlling the medical, educational, and emotional well-being of a child matters, emotional care, medical care, and moral teaching.   If the family court orders that the “custody rights” over your children be transferred from you and your husband to your sister, she is allowed to make decisions without your input or participation.  If you just want schools, doctors, hospitals, banks, etc. to know that your sister has the authority to make decisions and serve in the capacity of a parent while you are absent during a certain period of time, you can accomplish that without a court-ordered transfer of custody.  Your family law attorney can help you identify all of the institutions and individuals you would need to contact, and prepare any necessary documents.

Because you are not yet divorced, you and your husband still share joint custody over your child(ren) unless there is a separation agreement granting you single custody.  It seems that you and your husband need to arrange for someone to temporarily care for your children now, and that this issue has be resolved before your divorce is final (and perhaps even before you file for divorce). Hopefully you and your husband can work out a mutually satisfactory permanent and/or temporary custody agreement before you file.  Your respective divorce attorneys, and/or a third party mediator, can facilitate the negotiations and the drafting of a binding document. If your husband agrees that it is in the best interest of your child(ren) for your sister to exercise your joint custody during the defined period of your absence, you can submit this agreement to the family court with your divorce petition.

If your husband objects to your sister temporarily taking charge of your child(ren) – before or after your divorce – the family court will have to resolve the issue.  The family court will apply a “best interests of the child” legal standard to the custody ruling.  Please be aware that there is no guarantee that the court will agree that having your sister care for your children is in their best interests.  An experienced family law attorney can help you prepare a persuasive case for the award of temporary custody rights to the person of your choice.

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