As a Florida grandparent, you may have any number of reasons for wanting to establish a legal visitation arrangement with your grandchild. Maybe you have complicated family dynamics that typically keep you and your grandchild apart, or perhaps you have concerns about your grandchild’s parents’ abilities to raise him or her appropriately. Regardless of your reasoning for desiring grandparent visitation, however, your situation must meet certain specific circumstances for a judge to grant visitation to you.
So, under what circumstances might you be able to secure legal visitation with your grandson or granddaughter?
Conditions required for grandparent visitation
Per the Florida State Legislature, there are several distinct scenarios under which you may be able to secure legal visitation rights to your grandchild. First, you may be able to do so if both your grandchild’s parents have passed away, gone missing or remain in a persistent, vegetative state.
In a second possible scenario, you may be able to obtain legal visitation rights with your grandchild if one parent meets the above criteria and the other poses a threat to the child because of an existing felony offense or another type of violent crime in his or her past.
If your situation meets these terms, the next step typically involves having you, the grandparent, undergo mediation to determine whether visits with you are in your grandson or granddaughter’s best interests. You can anticipate that the court will consider whether the child’s parents pose a threat to the child, and you can also expect the court to think about whether visits with you would threaten or harm the existing relationship between your grandchild and his or her parent(s).
Courts are typically reluctant to grant legal visitation to grandparents in situations where doing so would likely cause strife between the grandparent and the child’s biological parent(s). Every family situation is different, however, so what holds true in one instance will not necessarily do the same in another.
In summary, arguably the easiest way to spend quality time with your grandchild involves maintaining a relationship with his or her parents. In situations where this is not possible, however, you may have little choice other than to pursue legal visitation rights.