The role of grandparents can be different for every family, from a source of advice and support to someone who is kept at a distance. While every family dynamic is different, most families are willing to put differences and past disputes aside to ensure grandparents are able to spend time with their grandchildren.
Unfortunately, grandparents rights in Florida are limited and the courts will only become involved if it can be proven to be in the best interest of the child. In such situations, the Florida courts system can help grandparents establish scheduled visitation, temporary custody, and in some circumstances, provide stable, loving homes.
Grandparents Visitation Rights
Florida has a history of finding that the Courts cannot interfere with parents’ constitutional rights of privacy in raising their children and will only assist in resolution if there is evidence that the current situation puts the child’s health, safety and welfare at risk. The Courts will also evaluate if grandparent involvement is in the best interests of the child and will not damage the parent-child relationship.
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If the State has removed your grandchild from the custody of their parents and the matter is currently pending in dependency courts, grandparents are able to request set visitation while the matter is being resolved. The assigned caseworker will help arrange visits but the grandparents will be held responsible for the transportation cost of the grandchild visitations if they are to take place at the grandparent’s home. When parental custody is restored, the established visitation rights and schedule will end and time with your grandchildren will have to be privately agreed upon with the parents.
Outside of pending dependency matters, the State will not interfere with the parents’ rights to raise their children except if there is evidence that temporary custody is appropriate. Grandparents can request custody if one or both parents have passed away, abandoned the child or otherwise neglected to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child.
Temporary Custody & Concurrent Custody
As it is relatively common for parents of minor children to ask grandparents and extended family to temporarily care for their children when they are unable to do so themselves, Florida Statute 751 awards extended family and grandparents custodial rights in the form of temporary or concurrent custody.
In situations where parents cannot be located, the courts will consider temporary custody for grandparents in order to solve issues concerning school registration and medical treatment for the child.
Concurrent and temporary custody is specifically designed as a short-term solution until the parents can resume their role as primary caregiver. This provides grandparents with the legal documents to prove they can make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and wellness.
While the preferred situation for any child is to be in the care of one or both parents, there can be situations where that is not an option. If parents have abandoned their children and a significant amount of time has passed, grandparents may want to consider adoption.
Did You Know?
Can I Adopt My Grandchild in Florida?
Under Florida law, grandparents (and close relatives) are given the first priority for adoption if the parents have permanently lost or given up their parental rights.
Grandparents rights in Florida are constantly evolving and require compelling evidence to establish. If you are in need of a lawyer who understands the associated laws and can help you establish grandparents’ rights or visitation look no further than LaFrance Family Law. With years of experience and a passion for excellence, we strive for the best outcome for all our clients.
Call us at 1-813-930-5542 and schedule a consultation today.