Although you prefer your family to get along peacefully, there may be times when you realize you need legal aid to visit your grandchildren. In these circumstances, it is important to understand your rights as a grandparent in Florida.
For the most part, visitation with your grandchildren is something decided by you and your family. The Florida Legislature says that when your family disagrees about how often you should visit, it is your family's responsibility to find a solution which works for everyone. There may be times, though, when your family cannot reach an agreement by themselves. In this situation, seeking legal aid is usually a last resort. Instead, it is recommended that families seek a resolution by working with local mediation services.
Visitation can sometimes be more difficult if one or both of your grandchildren's parents are missing or deceased. When this is the case, you typically need to submit a legal petition for visitation. Before granting visitation rights, the court considers a variety of factors. One of these is the reason you have not been visiting your grandchildren. If one of your children chose to sever contact with you, the court usually tries to determine if you were a source of stability for your grandchildren during difficult times. Your relationship with the children's parent is taken into consideration as well.
Your visitation rights are also determined by your relationship with your grandchildren. The amount of contact you have with them, as well as how long you have been in contact, can help the court understand the role you have played in their lives. Additionally, a court considers how your grandchildren have coped with conflict in the family and seeks to understand how visits with you will help the children deal with continued conflict.