Melbourne Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers
Grandparents in Florida do not have statutory custody and visitation rights (rights written into the law). The reason for this is that state courts interpret assertions by grandparents as a violation of the parents’ privacy rights. This is a hard fact for grandparents in Florida, which has more grandparents than any other state.
If you file a motion to have access to your grandchildren without the parents’ assent, you will likely be refused and your motion will be treated as an attempt to infringe on the parents’ most basic rights unless the parents are deemed unfit.
There are few exceptions to this interpretation. Courts will grant custody in some cases, as when there is clear evidence of abuse or neglect.
Grandparents’ Rights: The Best Ways to Have Access
Your best chance of obtaining legal custody of your grandchild is for one or both parents of the child to consent. Otherwise, the court must find the parents unfit or unavailable and custody by the grandparent or extended family to be in the child’s own best interests. Courts will ask about the relationship that exists between the child and grandparents; what the child’s own preferences are (when he or she is mature enough to state such preferences); and any health issues facing both child and grandparents. Courts will also need to know the type and frequency of contact between the parent and the child.
Grandparents are also allowed to adopt their grandchildren or be named their legal guardians in certain situations. Temporary or concurrent custody is also an option, which allows an extended family member to have temporary, physical custody of the child. These options require a court order so that the unfit or absent parent must prove their fitness before regaining custody and rights to the child.
Another option is for the grandparent to obtain durable power of attorney from the parent, which will allow the grandparent to adequately care for the child and make decisions regarding education, medical care and general welfare of the child.
Whether you seek adoption, guardianship, temporary custody or informal custody, contact Platt Hopwood Russell & Cole by email or call us at our Melbourne offices. Our numbers are 321-725-5638, toll free — 800-479-3032. Our lawyers are eager to pursue your goals.