Do Grandparents Have Legal Custody Rights?

While a divorce is the legal separation of two people and the dissolution of their marriage, more than just the people who are getting divorced can be impacted. Grandparents, specifically, may find that when their son or daughter gets a divorce, their ability to see their grandchildren is limited or eliminated altogether. While there are some states that have given grandparents some ability to request visitation rights, Florida is a state that has been hesitant to provide these rights. This is especially the case if one or both parents don’t want the grandparents to see the children.

Legal Custody Rights

If the parents and grandparents are able to agree to visits, the courts won’t interfere with the agreement. However, if grandparents what actual, legal visitation rights and one parent does not agree, Florida courts will be charged with the decision of deciding what visitation rights a grandparent can have.

The Current Florida Law Related to Grandparent Rights

The bad news is, it is very hard to obtain grandparent rights in Florida. Even with recent statutory updates, extremely precise requirements have to be met in order to give grandparents the rights to see their grandchildren.

As of July 1, 2015, the state of Grandparent’s Rights in Florida has changed. In the past, grandparents could petition to get visitation rights if the parent’s got a divorce, if a parent abandoned the child or if the child was born of wedlock and the parents never got married. Even in these situations, it is still difficult to obtain grandparent rights.

However, with Florida Statute 752.011 some grandparents received a glimmer of hope. With this statute, grandparent visitation was allowed when the following conditions were present:

  • Both of the parents are missing, deceased or in an ongoing vegetative state

OR

  • One parent is in a vegetative state, missing or deceased AND
  • The child’s other parent has been convicted of an offense of violence or felony that poses a serious threat of harm to a child’s welfare or health

If there is one of the parents who are still around and in the child’s life and they are not a violent felon, then grandparents will have no visitation rights. Right now, there is no situation like this that has been heard in the court system.

Hiring an Attorney

If you are a grandparent who wants to try and acquire custody of your grandchildren, then it may be wise to hire a family law attorney. The lawyer that you hire can evaluate the situation and determine whether or not you have a case. Unfortunately, the likelihood of gaining custody if the parents are still around is very low, however, a lawyer can help you better understand what rights you have.

To learn more about grandparent rights as related to child custody and visitation rights, contact a family law attorney. The lawyers from The Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson can provide more information and insight regarding visitation. Call them today at 321-253-3771 to learn more.

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