Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Florida?

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Florida?

Do grandparents have visitation rights in Florida? The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker P.A. provides information about the legal options available to grandparents residing in Florida. Grandparents can face numerous obstacles while attempting to obtain visitation rights, but they may pursue certain legal remedies with the help of an experienced attorney. The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker P.A. helps grandparents understand the laws applicable to their situation.

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights In Florida?

Whether Grandparents have visitation rights is a complex legal issue, especially when the child’s parents may object. In Florida, grandparents may have visitation rights, but only under specific circumstances. 

A Florida statutes dictates when grandparents can seek visitation with their grandchildren. Generally, Florida courts will uphold a parent’s right to deny visitation by the grandparent. As a result, it can make it difficult for grandparents to see their grandchildren.  

If you are facing visitation issues or want to learn more about grandparents’ rights in Florida, contact the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker P.A. Our attorneys can help you learn more about these visitation rights in the state. 

Can a Parent Deny Grandparent Visitation in Florida?

In Florida, parents do have a fundamental right to raise their children according to their wishes and personal beliefs, especially given the recent passage of the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act. Along with that, parents have the right to decide who can spend time with their children. 

However, there could be certain circumstances where grandparents have the right to seek visitation or even custody of their grandchildren. According to Florida Statute § 39.509, maternal and paternal grandparents, including step-grandparents, are entitled to reasonable visitation if the child has been removed from the parent’s custody and adjudicated a dependent child. However, the court must find that visitation rights are in the best interests of the child.

Despite that, the courts can still prevent a visit from the grandparents. Visitation may be refused in certain situations, such as: 

  • The grandparent has engaged in behavior that harms the child or would negatively impact the child’s well-being
  • The grandparent has tried to negatively impact the child’s relationship with their parents, such as speaking negatively about them or attempting to interfere with their relationship

Is There an Automatic Right to Grandparent Visitation?

 In Florida, grandparents do not have an automatic right to visit with their grandchildren. They must petition the court for visitation rights if they meet certain criteria.

If the court grants a grandparent’s petition, the amount of visitation they receive will depend on the specific terms of the court order. Generally, the court may grant visits on a regular schedule or a case-by-case basis, depending on the child’s best interests and other relevant factors.

The number of visits a grandparent receives is not guaranteed and will depend on the specific factors of each case. Grandparents seeking visitation with their grandchildren should consult an attorney experienced in family law to discuss their legal options.

What Are the Fundamental Rights of the Parents?

Parents in Florida have fundamental rights, including making decisions regarding their children’s care and parenting without undue interference. However, certain circumstances may limit these rights, and the child’s welfare is always a primary consideration. 

In Florida, the burden of proof is on the grandparents to show that visitation is in the child’s best interest and that harm would result from the denial of visitation. The court often considers several factors in making this decision, including:

  • The relationship between the grandparent and the child
  • The length of time since the grandparent last had contact with the child
  • The motivation of the grandparent in seeking visitation
  • Any potential impact the visits may have on the child’s relationship with their parents

When Can a Grandparent Get Visitation or Custody Rights?

When a family experiences a breakdown in their relationships, grandparents may be denied access to their grandchildren. While Florida yields fundamental rights to the parents, there are certain circumstances when the grandparents are granted custody. 

Under Florida Statute § 752.011, grandparents can also petition for visitation with a minor under certain circumstances: 

  • The child’s parents have been missing for at least 90 days and cannot be located through an inquiry or search by friends, family members, or law enforcement.
  • The parents are dead.
  • The child’s parents are in a persistent vegetative state.
  • One of the child’s parents is missing, dead, or in a vegetative state, while the other parent has been convicted of a violent offense or felony that could be a danger to the child’s welfare or health.
  • The child’s parents are unfit according to state statutes. 

If a grandparent is seeking custody rights, the court will consider factors such as: 

  • The ability of the grandparent to provide a stable home environment for the child
  • The nature of the relationship between the grandparent and the child
  • The ability of the grandparent to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs

Florida courts will prioritize the rights of the child’s biological parents unless it is proven that they are unfit or unable to provide for the child’s well-being.

What Is the Process to File for Custody Rights?

Temporary custody is awarded to a non-parent family member, such as a grandparent, when the parents are not in a position to provide for the child’s care. It’s often a long-term but temporary arrangement necessary when the parents cannot provide for their child’s needs. Filing for temporary custody in Florida could be a complicated process. First, the grandparent must file a petition with the court in the child’s county. The petition must include the following:

  • The grandparent’s name
  • The name of the child
  • The names of the child’s parents
  • A description of the requested visitation or custody arrangement

Additionally, the grandparent needs to provide evidence to support their requests for temporary custody, such as documentation of their relationship with the child and any evidence showing the child’s well-being would be negatively impacted without their involvement.

To win a case for Florida grandparents’ rights, the grandparent must provide convincing evidence that visitation or custody is in the child’s best interest. This evidence may include testimony from witnesses, such as family members or friends. They may also want to include any relevant documentation with the petition, including medical or school records. 

Reach Out to a Florida Family Law Attorney

Grandparents in Florida may benefit from the guidance and support of a family law attorney to help them navigate the court system and protect their legal rights.

A grandparent seeking visitation or other legal rights related to their grandchildren in Florida should consider consulting with a family law attorney. Our experienced and skilled lawyers can help grandparents navigate the family court system and understand their legal options under Florida law. 

Along with assisting with visitation rights, our family law attorneys can help grandparents with other legal matters related to their grandchildren, such as temporary custody or adoption proceedings.

At the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker P.A., we pride ourselves on responding to our clients’ needs and providing them with the support and guidance they require during challenging times. We understand that our clients are going through a difficult period in their lives, and we are committed to providing them with compassionate and efficient legal representation.

If you have issues with grandparents’ visitation rights in Florida, contact the experienced team of family law attorneys at Travis Walker Law.

Your Three Steps to Moving Forward

1 icon - orange colorCall our office or complete our contact form and set up an intake call with our Intake Coordinator.

2 icon - orange colorAttend a virtual or in-office consultation so we can better understand your case and determine how we can help guide you to success.

3 icon - orange colorRetain our firm so we may lead you through the legal process as quickly and painlessly as possible.