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Can Grandparents be Awarded Visitation Rights in Florida?

Custody5

In today’s modern society many children are raised in what were once considered to be “non-traditional” households. Some of these households are lead by a single parent, some are lead by two dads or two moms, and some are lead by grandparents. While custody and visitation laws have generally been a bit slow to recognize and grant legal rights in accordance with these modern family groupings, Florida law does currently allow family law judges to award visitation rights to grandparents under certain circumstances. Admittedly, these rights are not frequently granted, but know that the grandparent visitation rights outlined below do exist in Florida.

An Overview of Grandparent Visitation Rights in Florida

Under section 752.011 of the Florida Statutes, the grandparent of a minor child may petition for court-ordered visitation with their grandchild if:

  • The child’s parents are deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state, OR
  • One parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state and the other parent has been convicted of a felony or a violent offense evincing behavior that poses a substantial threat of harm to the child’s health or welfare.

If a judge finds that the criteria above has been met then he/she may award reasonable visitation rights to the grandparent if allowing such visitation is in the best interest of the child and will not materially harm the child’s relationship(s) with their parent(s). But how does the court determine whether or not awarding grandparent visitation rights would be in the child’s best interests? In order to make this determination the court considers the “totality of the circumstances affecting the mental and emotional well-being of the minor child.” Relevant factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The emotional ties that exist between the child and the grandparent,
  • The extent to which the grandparent has been involved in providing regular care and support to the child,
  • Reasons provided by the child’s parent(s) for ending or limiting contact between the child and the grandparent,
  • The present mental, physical, and emotional health of the minor child,
  • The recommendations of the minor child’s guardian ad litem (if one has been appointed), and
  • Any other factors that the court considers necessary in making its determination.

Additionally, when determining whether or not awarding grandparent visitation rights would materially harm the child’s relationship(s) with their parent(s) the court considers a variety of other factors including, but not limited to:

  • Whether or not allowing grandparent visitation would materially interfere with parental authority,
  • The psychological tool that potential visitation disputes may take on the child,
  • Whether allowing grandparent visitation would expose the child to moral standards or other factors inconsistent with influences provided by the parent(s), and
  • Any other factors that the court considers necessary in making its determination.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you’re a Florida grandparent who is interested in gaining visitation rights in Florida feel free to contact the experienced family law attorneys of the Mander Law Group at your earliest convenience. One of our knowledgeable lawyers would be happy to sit down with you during a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights and options. Give our Dade City office a call today at (800) 557-0411.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0752/Sections/0752.011.html

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