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Grandparents are often an important part of a child’s life, but when parents split or choose to never marry, the relationship between a child and his or her grandparents is sometimes affected.

Florida has recently taken some action to protect the right grandparents have to spend time with their grandchildren. A new law grants grandparents the right to request visitation with grandchildren when a child has been removed from the home by child protective services. Grandparents are also permitted to sue for visitation if a parent is deceased, missing, in a persistent vegetative state, and the other parent is or is not a convicted felon or is considered to pose a threat to the child’s welfare.

Restrictive Grandparent Laws in Florida

Historically, Florida has been known as one of the more difficult states in terms of providing grandparents visitation rights. Though the new laws ease the restrictions a bit, it does not significantly change anything. Florida grandparents are still required to prove parental unfitness or show that significant harm will be done to a child in order to be granted time with the child.

The reason grandparent rights are so restrictive in Florida is due to the importance the state places on parental privacy. Several court rulings have deemed grandparent visitation an invasion of privacy of a parent, and only awarded grandparent visitation over the protests of a parent when no visitation seemed detrimental to the child.

When determining whether or not time with his or her grandparents would be in a child’s best interest, Florida courts assess a long list of factors, including:

  • Willingness of the grandparents to encourage a healthy relationship between the child and his or her parent
  • Quality of the relationship between the child and grandparents
  • Child’s preference for having a relationship with his or her grandparents
  • The mental and physical health of the child
  • Mental and physical health of the grandparents
  • Any other relevant factors

Protecting Your Rights as a Grandparent amidst Changing Laws

If you are a grandparent and your grandchild’s parent or parents are attempting to keep you from spending time with the child, you might be entitled to take legal action. Since the laws related to grandparent rights are complicated, it’s important to work with an attorney who understands how to protect your rights.

For more information or to discuss the details of your situation with an experienced attorney, contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller by phone at 813-254-5696 or online by using our online contact form.

Call (813) 254-5696 anytime, or use this contact form, for your free initial consultation.
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