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Grandparents are in a difficult position in Florida

by | Mar 21, 2018 | family law

Grandparents are put into a difficult position when they’re the mothers or fathers of divorcees. They may want to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives, but with so much distance between the mother and father, it can be hard. Sometimes, the grandchildren end up with the estranged ex-spouse, making it even harder to see them regularly.

Florida has an extremely narrow set of circumstances under which it allows for grandparent visitation. Usually, they may seek visitation only if one parent is missing, deceased or comatose. They may also seek visitation if there is a threat of harm to a child due to abuse or harmful behaviors by one or both parents.

Floridian grandparents must prove that there is parental unfitness or a risk of harm coming to their grandchildren before they can seek visitation or custody. The reason for this goes back to a 1980 privacy amendment. This led to a 1996 case that resulted in a court being unable to intervene to grant custody to grandparents because the parents did not wish to allow it. Essentially, the privacy amendment does not allow the court to intervene in the lives of private citizens.

As a grandparent, that may make things difficult for you if you find your child or ex-daughter-in-law or ex-son-in-law does not want to grant you visitation. If you can show that there is a good reason for you to be in your grandchild’s life, there may still be a chance to seek help from the court. Other options, like mediation, could help you negotiate time with your grandchild without court involvement.

Source: The Spruce, “Grandparents’ Rights in Florida,” Susan Adcox, accessed March 21, 2018