How do courts determine grandparents' visitation rights?

Most people know about the complexities of custody and visitation in the event of a divorce. The subject features prominently in many movies and television shows, and it is an understandable and relatable conflict to desire more time with your child when you are only allowed a set amount. But while the plight of divorced parents may be commonly acknowledged and appreciated, the similar struggle of grandparents is not quite as widely recognized. Despite this, it is important to remember that children can benefit greatly from a healthy relationship with their grandparents.

In the event of a divorce, when one parent gets primary custody of the child, a great deal of attention is paid to establishing visitation rights for the non-custodial parent. Of course the parents of the non-custodial parents arguably have an even harder time proving that they deserve a spot in the lives of their grandchildren. While it is possible for grandparents to receive visitation rights (and in some cases even custody), it is a matter for the courts to determine.

It may not surprise you to learn that, like with most issues of custody, the courts try to do what is best for the child. When it comes to grandparents, this usually refers to how active the grandparents have been in the child's life up until the time of divorce or how strong the bond is between grandchild and grandparent. Of course, the state of the child's relationship with the custodial parent or parents is also a consideration, as custody of abused children may be given to grandparents for the child's own safety.

Unfortunately, because grandparents' rights are not as commonly or prominently addressed as parents' rights, the laws are a bit more ambiguous. They often vary from state to state, so Florida residents are encouraged to meet with attorneys who have experience handling such matters in Florida. Enlisting the aid of an attorney can help you demonstrate how important your relationship with your grandchild is, and help you get the visitation or custody arrangement that is best for you and the child.

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