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When can grandparents get custody of their grandchildren?

The majority of Florida grandparents want to see their grandchildren as much as possible. Most parents readily support these visitation opportunities, especially because grandparents can serve as extra babysitters, give rides to their grandkids, and even help out financially with childcare expenses.

That said, circumstances force some grandparents to take an even more important role in the rearing of their grandchildren. For example, a grandparent might need to take over as a grandchild's primary guardian and childcare provider.

There are unlimited reasons why a grandparent might choose to seek custody of his or her grandchildren. Maybe the parents are both incarcerated and they can no longer take care of their children. Perhaps the parents are suffering from a serious drug problem and are endangering their children. Alternatively, the parents might have died, or be suffering from a severe illness that prevents them from fulfilling their childcare responsibilities.

Regardless the reasons why, Florida grandparents who want to assume full custody of their grandchildren may have some unique legal hoops to jump through. For example, other relatives of the child, or other family members, might be vying for custody of a child whose parents can no longer fulfill their responsibilities. The Florida Department of Children and Families may also be involved -- especially if the child has been placed in the foster care system.

With the help of an experienced family law attorney, grandparents can navigate their grandchild custody proceedings appropriately in Florida court proceedings. An attorney can guide grandparents through the legal process in the most time-efficient and cost-effective way possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed March 22, 2017

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