The basics of grandparents' rights

Grandparents' rights can be a challenging issue for both parents and grandparents in Orlando. Each state has different rules concerning grandparents' rights, so it is important to be familiar with the rules in the state where the grandparent is seeking child custody or visitation rights. In general, the legal system is fluid and changes to the law are always a possibility. This is also true of the area of grandparents' rights.

Grandparents may be able to obtain custody rights or visitation rights for their grandchildren if certain requirements in state statutes are met and after an evaluation of certain factors. The conditions for grandparents to obtain custody of grandchildren are different from those to obtain visitation of grandchildren. As always, any child custody or visitation concern is guided by what is in the best interests of the child; that is what the family law court will focus on when making a decision.

A determination of grandparent visitation or custody may be evaluated based on factors such as the needs of the child, taking into consideration the child's physical and emotional health and their safety and welfare; the adjustment of the child to home, school and community; the ability of the parents and grandparents to provide for the child; the child's wishes based on their age; the parents' and grandparents' wishes; the relationship between the child and the grandparents, including the length and strength of the relationship; any evidence of neglect, abuse or substance abuse by the parents and grandparents; the ability of the parents and grandparents to provide for the child's emotional needs; and the distance between the parents or grandparents and the child.

Child custody and visitation concerns can always be emotional and may be even more emotional when grandparents' rights are at issue. When grandparents' rights to child custody or visitation are being sought, it is always helpful for parents and grandparents to understand grandparents' rights laws and how the family law court addresses these concerns.

Source: FindLaw, "Factors Considered for Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed on Aug. 8, 2017

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