Understanding Visitation for Grandparents
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."
Factors Considered by The Court
The following factors may be considered by the court when determining whether visitation will be in the best interest of the child:
- The child's reasonable preference, if he or she is old enough
- The grandparents' willingness to encourage a close relationship and interaction between the parents and child
- The child's physical and mental health
- The grandparents' physical and mental health
- The nature of the relationship between the child and grandparents before the divorce
- Other factors considered necessary by the judge
How Parents Losing Their Rights Can Affect Visitation
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:
- The child's reasonable preference
- The ability of the grandparents to care for the child's daily needs
- The emotional relationship between the grandparents and child
- The child's school and other records
- The grandparent's willingness to allow the child to continue a relationship with the parents
- The effect the change will have on the child
- The stability of the proposed home
- The physical health, mental state, and moral fitness of the grandparents
- Any history of violence, child abuse, or neglect
Work With an Experienced Attorney
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.