Grandparents’ Rights in Florida


In Florida, parents have a lot of control over child visitation matters. But what are grandparents’ rights in Florida? Grandparent visitation in Florida isn’t a right “until a parent prohibits visitation completely.” Further, “a grandparent can’t ask a court for additional time with a grandchild if a parent allows some visits.”

It’s argued that these strict Florida custody laws can create a situation where grandparents cannot foster strong relationships with their grandchildren. But, with the laws as they are, is there anything a grandparent can do to get more rights in Florida?

What Rights Do Grandparents Have in Florida?

A strong presumption favoring a parent’s actions and decisions in access to the kids is strong. Florida courts will initially presume that a mom or dad is fit as a parent and acting in a child’s best interests. Grandparents seeking to change the status quo regarding visitation bear the burden of proving that those best interests are promoted through grandparent visitation. And, notably, a request for visitation won’t even reach that point so long as a parent retains custody over a child. A Florida court will consider a grandparent’s visitation petition only if a child has been removed from home (for various reasons ranging from substance abuse or mental instability to family violence, incarceration, or death) and deemed state-dependent.

How to File for Grandparents’ Rights in Florida

The bottom line concerning Florida grandparent visitation is that rights exist but are very constrained. This is far from what most would assume is automatically granted by courts.

Seeking legal counsel is one way that grandparents can fight back if the situation becomes concerning. Organizing a regular custody schedule may help grandparents forge a stronger connection with their grandchildren and keep the family’s peace.

Contact a Tampa family law attorney to learn more.

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