According to recent statistics from GrandFacts, approximately 342,268 children less than 18 years of age in Florida live with their grandparents. In many families across Florida, grandparents play an integral role in the upbringing of their grandchildren. Whether by assisting with raising their grandkids or spending quality time with them.
Regardless of the exact nature of their role, the relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents is often irreplaceable. However, if a parent dies or if the child’s parents divorce or otherwise abandon the children, the grandparents may be uncertain about their child custody or visitation rights.
If you are a grandparent in Florida seeking custody or visitation rights with your grandchildren, consulting with an experienced Florida family law attorney is the best way for you to learn how to assert your rights. At Fournier Law, our dedicated family law attorneys are committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy in matters related to grandparents' rights. Whether you are looking to establish child custody or a visitation schedule, we will fight diligently and compassionately for the best interests of both you and your grandchildren.
Fournier Law proudly serves clients throughout Tallahassee, Jacksonville and the surrounding Floridian counties and communities.
As you may already know, a grandparent is defined by the law as any parent of a minor child's parent. Under Florida law, grandparents do not have visitation rights in divorce cases unless the divorcing parents agree to the visitation. However, grandparents are allowed to request visitation when:
Also, a grandparent can seek to terminate the biological parent's parental rights and adopt the grandchild when the parents have abused, neglected, or abandoned the child (their grandchild).
Under Florida law, a grandparent will only be entitled to file for visitation rights when the child has been removed from the parent's custody and grandparent visitation is considered to be in the child's best interests. Pursuant to Florida Statutes section 752.011,
"A grandparent of a minor child whose parents are deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state, or whose one parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state and whose other parent has been convicted of a felony or an offense of violence evincing behavior that poses a substantial threat of harm to the minor child's health or welfare, may petition the court for court-ordered visitation with the grandchild under this section."
The following factors may be considered by the court when determining whether visitation will be in the best interest of the child:
Under Florida law, when parents have lost their parental rights, a grandparent may have the first priority for adoption. Also, grandparents can retain visitation rights if the child has been taken from the physical custody of the parent's home and adjudicated a dependent of the state (Florida Statutes section 39.509).
Florida law allows a grandparent to take temporary custody of their grandchild if they can show that the temporary placement with them will be better for the child than being placed in a foster care facility. Some factors that will be considered by the court to grant grandparent custody include:
As a grandparent in Florida, filing for visitation or custody often involves a lot of complex legal procedure. Regardless, Florida law does allow for grandparents to petition for child custody or visitation if one or both parents are deceased, missing, in a vegetative state, or convicted of a criminal offense. An experienced Florida grandparents' rights attorney can provide you with all of the guidance and legal support you need to help you pursue all possible options.
At Fournier Law, our attorneys have dedicated their careers to offering reliable legal services and comprehensive guidance to clients in a variety of different family law-related matters, including grandparents' rights cases. Whether you are trying to establish child custody or a visitation schedule, our team will fight passionately and diligently for the best interests of both you and your grandchild. If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about their rights as a grandparent, call or reach out to our firm today to schedule a consultation.
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