A divorce can be traumatic not only for the couple involved but also for their parents. The situation can become even more complex if children are also involved. In this article, we are discussing the grandparents’ rights in Florida divorces. The separation of a married couple with kids redefines the children’s relationships with their respective families. A couple parted ways on a bitter note and got their respective divorce lawyers in Fort Pierce to limit access of both sets of grandparents to their minor kids. This was emotionally devastating for the old people as they were deeply attached to the kids. People share a special bond with the children of their offsprings. The separation of adult children in itself can be a distressing experience. Add to that the possibility of not seeing their kids again, and the situation can become even more painful for elderly people. Let’s see what kind of rights have been granted to them by the law in the state of Florida.
1. Visitation Rights Of Grandparents
The state gives primacy to the parent-child relationship. Generally, it does not take a favorable view of any kind of circumstances which can affect the health of this relationship. Parents enjoy the discretion of barring anyone including their own or their former spouse’s parents from meeting their offspring. In case, a court feels that a person is making a logical case for stopping an individual from interacting with his/her kids, they will give a favorable order irrespective of who the individual is. A woman through her divorce lawyer in Port Saint Lucie negotiated a settlement with her husband which included a clause letting her former father-in-law meet her daughter six times a year. The man tried to move the court to increase the number of visits but the court did not entertain his request. There are some situations when people can apply for visitation rights to meet their adult children’s offsprings.
When Can People Claim Visitation Rights?
Grandparents’ rights in Florida divorces are restricted in scope and can be applied in only a few limited cases. Even if the parents of the children are no more, the elderly do not get natural custody rights over their deceased children’s kids. They have to apply to a court to be able to visit the minors. They can also make the application if the parents are missing or in a persistent vegetative state. In case, one of the parents is dead, absent or in a vegetative state and the other is convicted of felony or violent behavior, then people can also apply for visitation rights. If the other parent is not accused of violence or any such behavior which the law feels shows no indication of posing danger to the kids, even then grandparents cannot apply for visits.
A person has to prove that the parent is unfit for discharging his/ her duties or poses danger to the minor’s well-being. Only then can she hope to win her visitation claims. The court will then analyze whether awarding the rights will be in the best interests of the kid in question or not. It will take into consideration factors like the quality and length of the existing relationship between the applicant and his/her grandkids. It will also take into account whether the person is willing to encourage a healthy relationship between the minor and his/her parents. The applicant and the child’s mental and physical health conditions will also be considered. Finally, the court will give some weight to the kid’s preference depending on his/her age.
When Can The Visitation Rights Be Revoked?
The right to meet the grandkids can be revoked if the person is accused of any kind of abuse or neglect towards the minors. It can also be revoked if the individual takes the child out of the state.
2. Custody For Grandparents
People are granted custody of their grandchildren only in extremely unusual cases. They can win custody only if the court is convinced that the parent is totally unfit or poses danger to the minor. The court will take a favorable view of the applicant if he/she was the primary caregiver of the kid for a long time. In case, both the parents lose their parental rights, the state gives preference to the grandparents for adopting the minor if it serves the kid’s best interests.
The application of grandparents’ rights in Florida divorces is limited to only a few specific situations. It will be, therefore, sensible for a person to consult a family law expert before moving court.