How Grandparents Can Get Custody of Grandchild in Florida

How Grandparents Can Get Custody of Grandchild in Florida

Everything You Need to Know about Grandparent Rights in Tampa

The legal rights of grandparents can be confusing, and getting custody or visitation rights with your grandchildren requires extensive knowledge of Florida family law. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about navigating grandparent guardianship in Florida.

How to Get Temporary Custody of a Grandchild in Florida

Florida awards grandparents custodial rights in the form of temporary custody when it has been determined that the parents are unable to adequately provide for their children. This is a short-term solution until the parents are able to resume their role as the primary caretaker. Grandparents will be provided legal documents to prove they are able to make decisions regarding the child’s health and wellness during this time.

Court-ordered visitation could be granted to grandparents if:

  • Both parents have passed away
  • Both parents are missing and cannot be contacted
  • The child was born out of wedlock and the parents never married
  • One parent remains but has a history of violence and is not able to provide a safe environment
  • A parent has been convicted of a felony related to a violent offense

The court will not grant grandparents visitation rights if:

  • There is no evidence proving that the above points are true
  • The parent of the child denies grandparents from visiting without cause.

In other situations not listed, the court will not get involved or establish visitation rights. Regardless if a decision is being made in or out of court, the parent(s) of the child would need to sign off on placement. Temporary custody can be granted over a parent’s objection if there is substantial evidence that the parent has abused, abandoned, or neglected the child.

Temporary Guardianship Form for Grandparents

If a grandparent would like to file for temporary custody, they can fill out the Florida Temporary Guardianship Form with a professional attorney and submit it to the court. A grandparent can file an action requesting visitation only once during a 2-year period. Grandparent visitation can be terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

There will be a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence that a parent cannot provide for their child. After that, the case will go to mediation. If the situation cannot be resolved in mediation, then a final hearing will be held.

The court will also look at what is in the best interest of the child. They will evaluate the grandparents:

  • Willingness to allow continued contact with the parent
  • Emotional relationship with the child
  • Ability to care for child’s daily needs
  • Effect of changes on the child including school location
  • Permanency and stability of proposed home
  • Mental and physical health
  • History of child abuse

If the child is mature enough, their preference will also be taken into consideration.

Concurrent Custody for Extended Family Members

Concurrent custody gives parents and extended family members shared custody rights for the child.

Concurrent Custody would give extended family members rights to:

  • Access child’s records
  • Enroll them in school
  • Consent to medical care

In order to petition for Concurrent Custody you must:

  • Have signed and notarized consent from the child’s legal parents (unless you are caring for the child full-time and the child currently lives with you)
  • Have had physical custody of the child for at least 10 days in any 30-day period within the last 12 months
  • Fill out the Florida Courts Concurrent Custody form with an approved attorney

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Contact us or visit the Department of Children Services for further assistance.