Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Florida?
Although historically, Florida has been more hesitant than other states to grant grandparent visitation of children, currently the state can grant one or more grandparents visitation rights for children under certain circumstances, when deemed in the best interest of the minor child.
Typically the courts have to get involved when one parent does not want visitation, and would prefer (as a matter of public policy) that families work out the details of visitation with relatives amongst themselves or, alternately, seek to participate in mediation services to help resolve their differences.
Circumstances To Qualify For Visitation
State law will consider a petition for visitation filed by a grandparent if the marriage has been dissolved, one parent has deserted the child, or the child was born out of wedlock (and the parents do not marry).
Determining Best Interest of the Child
In determining whether grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child, the court considers the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent, the preference of the child (if old and/or mature enough to express a preference), the mental and physical health of both the child and grandparent(s), and other factors, such as the level of commitment that the grandparent demonstrates in developing a close relationship with the child.
What about Remarriage and Moving from Out of State?
Even if one parent remarries, a court will typically preserve grandparent visitation rights if it is in the best interest of the child. However, the courts can be very conservative in their interpretation of what the best interest of the child is; they err on the side of allowing parents to raise their child as they wish, and may not grant grandparent visitation rights if denying them will not necessarily harm the child.
Many people would also be surprised to find out that Florida does not necessarily preserve grandparent visitation rights granted in another state. Florida courts have terminated these rights in finding a “material change of circumstance” when one or more parents moves from out of state into Florida.
It is obvious that asserting grandparents’ rights in a child custody case takes the assistance of an experienced family law attorney because of the various hurdles that exist.
Contact an Effective and Compassionate Family Law Attorney in Broward County
As a grandparent seeking visitation rights in Florida, your case is nothing but easy. It appears that obtaining visitation just gets more and more difficult. If you are a parent seeking to contest visitation rights, it is clear that the law is on your side, and values your relationship with your child more so than the relationship between grandchild and grandparent.
If you live in Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton, and you have a concern related to child visitation, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation. We are prepared to present the evidence necessary to make your case and protect the best interest of the child.