As a Florida grandparent, a time may come when you desire legal custody or visitation with your grandchild or grandchildren. Maybe you are unable to have visits with them at the moment because the child’s parents prefer it that way, or perhaps you want to see your grandchildren more frequently than you currently do. Regardless of your reasoning for desiring visitation, it is important to know that you and the child’s parents must meet certain criteria for your visitation request to undergo consideration.
Per The Spruce, a state law passed in 2015 dictates that grandparents may sue their grandchild’s parents for visitation only in very specific circumstances. For example, if the child’s parents are missing, dead or in vegetative states, you may, as a grandparent, be able to pursue legal visitation with your grandchild.
You may, too, be able to sue for visitation if one of your grandchild’s parents is missing, dead or in a vegetative state and the other parent poses a substantial harm to the child. Typically, this means that the other parent must either receive a felony conviction or some other type of conviction that involves violence and indicates that the parent poses a serious harm to your grandchild.
If your grandchild’s parents fit the criteria and you choose to sue for visitation, you must prove that visiting with you is in the best interest of your grandchild. Courts may be more likely to grant you visitation if there is evidence of an existing relationship between you and your grandchild, or if your grandchild is old enough to express his or her desires to visit with you.
This information about grandparent rights in Florida is informative, but it is not a substitute for legal advice.