How grandparents' visitation rights are granted

Although the laws are not the same in every state, grandparents in Florida do have the right to petition the court for visitation of their grandchild if they are being denied visitation by the child's parents. The court will grant visitation to the grandparent if the judge rules that certain criteria is met and the visitation order would be in the child's best interest.

Before approving a petition for reasonable grandparents' visitation rights, the court must find that the child's parents are divorced, at least one parent has abandoned the child or the child was born to unmarried parents. If none of these things are true, the visitation rights will not be granted to the grandparent. A grandparent will not be allowed to seek visitation of a child that has been placed with adoptive parents, unless a stepparent was the person who adopted the child.

A court will consider various factors when determining whether or not granting grandparents' visitation rights is in the best interest of the child. The court will look into the prior relationship the grandparent may have established with the child, how willing the grandparent is to encourage the child's close relationship with their parents and the mental and physical health of both the child and the grandparent.

A grandparent may have a greater chance of being granted visitation if they can present an abundance of evidence of the prior close relationship they had with the child. A family law attorney may be able to help a grandparent to gather all of the relevant evidence for their case and present a strong argument for the court to approve visitation rights.

Source: The Florida Senate, "2013 Florida Statutes", September 15, 2014

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