Florida is home to hundreds of thousands of grandparents, but if you’re attempting to secure visitation rights with your grandchildren, it can be an uphill battle in our state.
For years Florida law allowed for grandparents’ visitation rights, but a series of court rulings, in the name of expanding the right to personal privacy, have found the old law unconstitutional. Additionally, while the state used to honor visitation rights granted to grandparents by other states, even this concession has been called into question in recent court decisions. Florida has swiftly moved toward a system that privileges the rights of parents to make the ultimate call regarding visitation.
Grandparents may still be able to seek the right to visit with their grandchildren, even if a parent opposes such involvement, if certain conditions exist and if specific procedures are followed. For example, if the child has been removed from the parents’ care, grandparents may be entitled to visitation rights. In some cases, if the parents and grandparents can come to an agreement, the grandparents may be able to gain concurrent custody of the children to ensure they receive proper care. Grandparents may also obtain a power of attorney to provide temporary care for children.
In more extreme situations, such as the parent being unable to adequately care for a child or the home environment being unsafe, grandparents may be able to gain custody. This is generally preferred to placing the child in foster care.
Ultimately, the awarding of visitation rights may still depend on factors such as the grandparents’ desire to strengthen the parent-child relationship, the mental and physical health of both the grandparents and children, the existing relationship between the children, the grandparents, and the children’s preferences.
Speak with a knowledgeable Tampa family law attorney with the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras for the guidance and support you need when dealing with this tough issue.