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Florida woman urges passage of grandparents' rights bill

Most child custody disputes are between the child's parents. But families can be much more than parents and children. Grandparents also can play an important role in children's lives. Many grandparents would do anything to avoid losing their relationship with their grandchildren. But disputes with the child's parents often cause that relationship to become disrupted.

Under current Florida law, grandparents who are being blocked from seeing their grandchildren may have little legal recourse. But one resident in that situation recently urged lawmakers to pass a grandparents' rights bill. The bill would give people the right to ask the court to order visitation time with their grandchildren in certain situations.

The woman was living with her daughter and her three children, including a pair of twins, when the daughter disappeared in 2011. She has not been found. Some time after the disappearance, the twins' father took custody of them. He moved out of state, and would not let the woman see them. As a result, she has not seen the twins for nearly two and a half years. She rarely sees her other grandchild, because her father only allows infrequent visits.

The bill that the woman is advocating for would allow for grandparental visitation rights when one parent is missing, in a vegetative state or deceased. A similar bill failed last year, but this year it has gotten out of committee in both the House and Senate.

Child custody and visitation disputes are frequently emotional, because they have to do with the right to help raise a child. People looking to obtain or amend custody or visitation rights generally need a good attorney on their side.

Source: Mynews13.com, "Woman's family promotes grandparents' rights bill in Florida," Jeff Allen, March 30, 2014

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