If you are a grandparent who has lost touch with their grandchild, or is anticipating losing touch with their grandchild, you may be wondering what the Florida grandparent visitation rights cover.
Well, the truth is, in Florida, grandparent visitation rights are nonexistent. That is, if a parent desires to keep their child away from the grandparent, they can. The only way a court will order for grandparent visitation rights in Florida is if the grandparent can show that the parent is unfit, the child is being harmed, or the parent is a danger to the child. Florida law says that parental rights (i.e. the way the parent chooses to raise their child) cannot be set aside unless the child will be harmed by not seeing the grandparent. And even then this is a hard hurdle to jump as Florida courts have been very wary of granting grandparent visitation rights in the past.
If the parent is not in the child’s life because they are deceased, in a vegetative state, or have abandoned the child, a grandparent can ask a court for visitation. This has been granted in the past if the grandparent can prove the visitation is in the best interest of the child. To determine the best interests of the child, a Florida judge will consider:
- quality and length of relationship between the grandparent and child;
- the grandparents’ willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and their parents;
- depending on their age, the child’s preference (whether or not they wish to see the grandparent);
- the child’s physical and mental health; and
- the grandparent’s physical and mental health.
While this news may be disheartening for many grandparents in Florida, it reflects the state’s belief that the child’s best interest is paramount, and this best interest includes their parents’ right to choose who they wish to be involved in the child’s life.
If you believe you may have a case for grandparent visitation rights, or would like to learn more, please contact our family law practice at (555)-555-5555. We look forward to hearing from!