Florida courts typically leave decisions regarding who a child will and will not be permitted to see up to the child’s parents. In cases involving child custody disputes, however, the best interests of the child may be overlooked, and a relationship with his or her grandparents severed. Grandparents in these cases, while not specifically the parents, still have some rights concerning their grandchildren. Under certain circumstances, grandparents in Florida may be entitled to visitation rights.
Under Chapter 752 of the 2014 Florida Statutes, the rights of Floridian grandparents may be enforced under three general conditions: if the parents of the child are divorced, if one of the child’s parents deserted him or her, or if the child’s parents were unmarried at the time of his or her birth. In addition to meeting one of these conditions, there are a number of other factors that are also taken into consideration when a judge is deciding whether or not to order grandparents’ visitation time.
A judge must determine that it is in the child’s best interests to be allowed visits with his or her grandparents. In order to make this decision, judges will generally consider all of the relevant factors. This includes the child’s preference, the health of both the grandparents and the child, and the length and type of relationship that previously existed between the child and his or her grandparents.
There are exceptions to the statute, however. If a child has been adopted outside of the family, the biological grandparents no longer have any child custody and visitation rights. When the parents’ rights are relinquished in these cases, so too are those of any other natural family members.