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Grandparent Visitation After A Florida Divorce

Grandmother

Divorce has far-reaching effects for individuals besides the couple that is calling it quits.  Certainly children of divorce feel the impacts; their routines can be turned upside down.  They may be relocated away from their neighborhood friends, schools, and extended family.  Such changes can be devastating to not only the children, but to grandparents, as well.  Oftentimes divorced parents are enthusiastic about including grandparents in their children’s lives.  But what if parents do not view grandparents as a valued part of their children’s lives? Do Florida grandparents have any rights to visitation following a divorce?  Do grandchildren have a right to interact with their grandparents?  The questions are more complicated than some people realize, and a solution may not be viable without the assistance of a local attorney experienced in family law.

When One or Both Parents Object to Visitation

 The fact of the matter is that the rights of parents are generally supported over those of nonparents.  If parents prefer grandparents not be granted visitation, especially if the custodial parent objects to it, convincing a judge otherwise can be enormously difficult.  With good reason, the Florida legislature has given parents exclusive authority to raise their children as they see fit.  Intrusion by outside forces is strictly frowned upon by the state and national constitutions.  That being said, the court may grant visitation to grandparents under very limited circumstances:

  • When one parent has been killed and the other is determined to be civilly or criminally liable for that death;
  • When the grandchild has been removed from the physical custody of the parent(s);
  • When it is determined to be in the best interest of the child because the parent has a history of felony violence or neglect.

These legal parameters are very restrictive, and each case depends on individual circumstances.  Preparing a strong case requires time and careful thought.

Terminating Grandparent Visitation 

Once visitation is secured for grandparents, it is required to take place in the grandparent’s home unless there are convincing reasons otherwise.

How and When to File for Visitation 

If an active case for divorce or legal separation is pending, grandparents are required to join that family law case.  Otherwise, grandparents must complete several forms in order to file a new case.  The grandparents are responsible for any transportation costs associated with the visitation. Visitation can be quickly terminated under certain circumstances:

  • If they arrange for visitation between the child with someone else if it violates a court order;
  • If a parent regains physical custody and wishes to conclude grandparent visits;
  • It is determined that it is no longer in the best interests of the child to maintain grandparent visitation.

Your Legal Advocate 

As a grandparent who loves and wishes for regular contact with grandchildren, you may be incredulous at the disagreeable task of dealing with intractable parents who are trying to interfere with this significant relationship.  The Boca Raton family law attorneys at WiseLieberman understand your apprehensions at the thought of the legal battle ahead, and will advocate for you.  Share your concerns in a confidential consultation with our legal team today.

Source:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0039/Sections/0039.509.html

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