Fort Lauderdale Grandparents Rights Attorney
A child’s relationship with his or her grandparent can be among the most important and influential in his or her life. Unfortunately, however, certain events and circumstances—such as a divorce, the death or disability of a parent, or a family feud—can disrupt or even terminate that relationship. At Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale grandparents rights attorneys have helped grandparents pursue full custody, temporary custody and visiting time with their grandchildren.
Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in Florida?
While there is a law in Florida that allows for grandparent visitation rights (now called time-sharing), the Florida Supreme Court has ruled in multiple decisions that the law violates the state constitution and is invalid. Therefore, grandparents must look for other ways to establish custody or time-sharing with a grandchild. If a child’s parent objects to contact with a grandparent, it can be especially difficult and complex to win the right to see the child.
If a court does consider awarding time-sharing rights to a grandparent (for example, if one or both parents has died, there is a history of domestic violence or abuse, or other issues create an unsafe home environment) it will look at the following factors to determine whether it is in the child’s best interests:
- The willingness of the grandparent or grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents
- The relationship between the child and the grandparent or grandparents
- The time that has elapsed since the child last had contact with the grandparent or grandparents
- The child’s preference, if he or she is old enough to express it
- If the parents are divorced or separated, the effect on the time-sharing arrangement between the parents
- The mental and physical health of the child
- The mental and physical health of the grandparent or grandparents
Grandparents seeking full custody of a grandchild must not only show that the parents are unfit, but also demonstrate that they have, in effect, acted as the child’s parents. Without a formal order granting parental responsibility, a grandparent’s ability to make decisions concerning the child’s upbringing are limited; however, “caretaker” grandparents may have the ability to enroll a child in school or seek medical attention.
Contact Us for More Information About Grandparents’ Rights in Florida
If you have a child custody or time-sharing concern as a parent or grandparent, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for advice and representation from an experienced Fort Lauderdale family law attorney. Our office in Fort Lauderdale serves clients in Broward County and throughout southeast Florida.