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Obtaining Emergency Temporary Guardianship In Florida


West Palm Beach police are investigating a murder/suicide in Palm Beach this past Monday. Authorities believe a child dialed 911, and when they arrived, they heard gunshots and found the victim dead in a domestic violence escalation. The perpetrator later succumbed to his injuries, and five children are tragically without parents and staying with extended family. Domestic violence is an epidemic, it is a serious matter that cannot be ignored. If you suspect domestic violence, whether or not children are involved, report it to authorities and the Department of Children and Families immediately. If you find yourself in a position, where emergency temporary custody is necessary, and you need assistance, call Attorney William Wallshein.

What is Emergency Temporary Guardianship? 

Emergency temporary guardianship, if approved, grants the petitioning guardian over the child, or ward, for up to ninety days. The potential guardian must file a petition with the local court in which the child resides. Florida law requires the presiding court to assign a guardian to a child whose parents have passed away or who otherwise has no other legal guardian. Sometimes if parents draft end of life documents or a will, a provision is included regarding custody of minor children should the parents become incapacitated or pass away. Otherwise, family members or friends of the child can petition the court for emergency guardianship or permanent guardianship. The court may assign the potential guardian physical custody over the child and his welfare in addition to the child’s inheritance, assets and financial well-being, or the court may assign a separate financial custodian to manage the child’s financial affairs. 

Applying for Guardianship 

Any adult resident of Florida or non-resident of Florida who is a direct relative by blood or marriage of the child can apply for guardianship. The prospective guardian must submit an application and complete an instructional training not to exceed 8 hours. In order for emergency temporary guardianship to be awarded, the court must find that the child or children are in immediate or imminent danger, their physical well-being is in jeopardy, or their personal or financial property is at risk of loss. If the person seeking emergency guardianship also seeks permanent guardianship, the temporary order expires when the permanent order is finalized by the court. The court also requires the emergency guardian to take an oath to perform duties as required under law. They may be required to file a bond, and if made guardian of the child’s property or assets, are also required to file a property inventory with the court. 

Call Attorney William Wallshein 

No one can predict the future. It cannot be understated that family planning and estate planning are important tasks, but often parents do not elect a legal guardian in a last will and testament, or don’t have one. If you are caring for children and need to apply for emergency temporary guardianship, help is available. West Palm Beach family attorney William Wallshein represents clients facing all types of family law issues, including guardianship and emergency custody. If retained, he will walk you through each step of the process. Call today to schedule a consultation.



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