Do Grandparents Have Visitation or Custody Rights in Florida?

Do Grandparents Have Visitation or Custody Rights in Florida?

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin, LLC || 24-Aug-2017

The impact of divorce goes well beyond the immediate members of the family. For some grandparents, divorce means it will be more difficult to consistently see their grandchildren. Although other states allow grandparents to seek visitation or child custody rights, Florida is usually hesitant when it comes to granting these rights. This is particularly true if one or both parents don’t want their child visiting their grandparent.

In Florida, grandparents can obtain visitation or custody rights if:

  • Both parents are deceased, missing, or in a vegetative state.
  • One parent has been convicted of a felony and the other parent is deceased, missing, or in a vegetative state.

Grandparents have no visitation rights if there is a parent around who is not a violent felon. If there is proven evidence that a parent is unfit, the court can appoint a guardian to protect the child’s best interests. The case will go to mediation if your family meets the criteria to seek visitation or custody rights. A final hearing will be held if the case cannot be resolved through mediation.

Remember, even if the initial conditions regarding the parents are met, the court can only grant visitation or custody to a grandparent if:

  • The parent is unfit or likely to harm the child.
  • Visitation is in the best interest of the child.
  • The visitation won’t substantially harm the relationship between the child and parent.

What if the Child’s Parents Are in the Military?

Florida has unique laws for grandparents if one or both of the grandchild’s parents serve in the military. Military parents can give custody or visitation rights to the child’s grandparent while they’re deployed or unavailable because of a military assignment. This law does not give a grandparent independent custodial rights. Instead, the law treats you as a substitute guardian while the parent is away.

Need more information about visitation or custody rights for grandparents? Contact our Orlando divorce lawyer to schedule a consultation. Let us use our 25 years of experience to help fight for your rights!

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