Grandparent Rights in Florida
In most situations, Florida law does not provide grandparents any legally enforceable right to visit with their grandchildren. There are limited circumstances in which you may have the ability to establish and enforce visitation with your grandchildren and you should consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to determine the best course of action to enforce those rights.
What happens when your adult child gets divorced?
While divorce most notably and immediately impacts the two adults dissolving their marriage, it can effectively mean the end of visitation with your grandchildren. When everyone is in agreement, and you are getting to see your grandchildren there is no need to seek intervention with the court. But when one parent does not agree with the children seeing one set of grandparents, Florida courts are hesitant to intervene. In fact, Florida law sets out specific criteria to be met before entertaining a request to legally grant grandparent visitation. Criteria triggering the ability to petition for visitation rights include when the parents are deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state. Additionally, if your grandchild has been adjudged a dependent child you may have certain legal rights. It helps to consult with an Orlando divorce lawyer to get more information on the complexities of these situations.
Have your grandchildren been adjudged dependent children?
The Department of Children and Families may intervene in certain cases of abuse, abandonment, or neglect of children and remove the children from the custody of their parents. If this is the case with your grandchildren, Florida law allows grandparents to petition the court for visitation with the children who have been sheltered by the state. There are a number of factors the court will consider when making a placement determination and it is important to present your case for visitation in a well-organized and persuasive manner. This is best done by an experienced family law attorney. Once a visitation order is in place you may be able to create a long lasting and enforceable right to see your grandchildren, even after some form of permanent placement is ordered by the court.
How does adoption effect your rights as a grandparent?
Once formal adoption has occurred, neither biological parents nor grandparents have the legal right to enforce visitation. In certain limited situations, the grandparent has the right to be noticed before parental rights are terminated and failure to provide proper notice can result in overturning the adoption, but it is important to discuss the specific facts of your situation with an experienced family law attorney.
Emotions understandably run high, and trying to navigate the rules and required procedures of the dependency court by yourself can be overwhelming. Consulting with the right family law attorney is important to ensure your options are explained and any possible legal action is taken correctly.