Temporary legal custody means a court order granting parenting rights over a minor to a friend, relative or custodial parent for a certain period of time until permanent custody can be determined, states Avvo. These rights include the authority to make decisions involving the child's health care, education and welfare.
Temporary legal custody is generally sought by a custodial parent while a divorce is pending, states Lawyers.com. The purpose of this short-term arrangement is to provide stability for the children and the parents during the divorce process. The custodial parent who is granted temporary legal custody often has a significant advantage over the other parent in winning permanent custody.