If you are a grandparent in Central Florida who feels that it would be in your grandchild’s best interests for you to have child custody, or if you are worried about being denied access to your grandchild and losing the close relationship you now have, contact Orlando Family Team to discuss grandparents’ rights today.
When Grandparents’ Rights for Child Custody May Be Considered
The pain of a marital split does not only affect the couple and their children. It affects the extended family: aunts, uncles, cousins, and especially grandparents. Unless the court has deemed the parents unfit to care for their child, grandparents have little or nothing to say
about child custody. Nonetheless, in a very large proportion of families grandparents and grandchildren are central to one another’s lives. It is a pity that some spouses try to sever ties between grandparents and grandchildren out of greed or spite.
Even if the child has only one involved parent and divorce has not taken place, a grandparent may file for custody if the custodial parent is neglectful or abusive or if the child is living with the parent in an unsafe environment.
The Benefits of Being Represented by Orlando Family Team for Child Custody
Our family law attorneys are well-practiced in handling divorce cases with all their myriad complications. Moreover, our well-developed negotiation skills and calm approach to family matters have provided us with a track record of successful outcomes. We have in-depth knowledge of Florida child custody laws and though we always prefer to handle family law issues out of court, we have the sharp litigation skills required to win your case if a trial becomes necessary.
When is a parent considered “unfit” in Florida?
The courts recognize that there are a great many parenting styles. Nonetheless, the following behaviors may make it impossible for a parent to maintain custody of their own child:
- Having abandoned the child by being unable to be contacted for 60 days or more
- Having abused the child physically, emotionally, or sexually
- Having a severe mental illness that interferes with providing reliable childcare
- Having a substance abuse problem that prevents providing reasonable childcare
- Neglecting the child’s physical, educational, emotional, or medical needs
If the parent is incarcerated or institutionalized, clearly child custody must be given to an individual who is free to tend to the child (like a grandparent) at least temporarily.
Generally speaking, a grandparent whose age and state of health make child care eminently possible is a good candidate. A judge may well transfer custody to the grandparent if they believe that taking this action is in the child’s best interests.
Limited Grandparents’ Rights to Visitation in Florida
Florida has some of the strictest laws regarding grandparent visitation in the country. That’s why you need an outstanding attorney if you are fighting for the opportunity to see your grandchild.
The Florida law defining grandparent rights to visitation that went into effect in 2015 is extremely limited in scope. It permits a grandparent to petition family court for visitation rights only if the custodial parent:
- Is missing
- Has been killed
- Is in a vegetative state
- Has been convicted of a crime that poses a threat to the health or welfare of the child
The law also stipulates that the grandparent can only visit the child if the visit will not “materially harm the parent-child relationship.” Also, in Florida, a grandparent cannot petition for additional visitation and their right to visitation may be legally revoked at any time. In short, it is very rare for a grandparent in Florida to be granted visitation rights against the parent’s wishes.
The harsh restriction of grandparent rights in Florida may seem surprising considering that so many older people retire to the Sunshine State, but that’s why it is crucial to have an astute family law attorney on your side if you want your fight for grandparent visitation or custody to be fair.
Our Law Team Values the Contributions of Grandparents
Whatever the family constellation is, in almost all cases having living grandparents around is beneficial. In most scenarios, grandparents provide:
- Unconditional love, partly because they do not have to be disciplinarians
- Continuity, e.g. keeping family traditions alive, helping children to know what their parents were like as children),
- Sense of history, a perspective on life in another time period
- Stability when there is turmoil in the home, at school, or in the world at large
- Wisdom that comes with long experience and having survived crises
- Companionship when parents are busy, distracted, or moody
What Our Grandparents’ Rights/Child Custody Lawyers Will Do to Help
One of the things that makes us skilled attorneys is that we listen carefully to what our clients have to say. We know that each case is unique and that unless we understand the nature of yours, we will be unable to provide you with excellent legal advocacy.
Once we are familiar with the various forces at work in your family, we will create a convincing strategy that will help us to bring you the results you’re looking for. Depending on circumstances, we will:
- Handle all communications and negotiations with opposing counsel
- Investigate all aspects of your case by interviewing those who have observed child-parent interactions, e.g. neighbors, friends teachers, doctors, counselors
- Examine any evidence of police calls, criminal history, or CPS interventions
- Gather any evidence of alcohol or substance abuse by the parent
- Investigate any possible illegal or immoral activity on the part of the parent
- Collect evidence that supports your closeness to your grandchild, including written notes or letters, photographs, drawings, teacher or doctor reports
Our goal, like yours, is to have you maintain as close a relationship with your grandchild as possible, and, when called for, to gain custody so that your grandchild can have a safe, fulfilling life.
Contact Our Experienced Grandparents’ Rights Attorneys Now
We know just how painful it is when there are serious rifts in families. Fortunately, we have extensive experience using diplomacy rather than aggressive confrontation to keep family relationships intact while working out solutions to complex problems. Still, we know when to fight vigorously to keep your grandchild secure and well-tended. Contact us today for moral support as well as tough legal representation.