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What are my rights as a Florida grandparent?

Florida is a popular spot for retirees and elderly individuals, but that doesn't mean grandparents have an easy time safeguarding their right to visit with their grandkids. In fact, Florida's grandparent visitation laws are don't protect very much in terms of visitation rights, but they do offer some protections.

Specifically, if one of the parents of the grandchild have died, gone missing or become incapacitated, the grandparents can file a lawsuit to secure the right to visit with their grandchild. Grandparents can also file for visitation rights if the parent was convicted of committing a felony-level offense that was violent in nature, but they will need to prove that the parent is "unfit" or could cause "significant harm to the child." Grandparents may also have rights in cases where children are born out of wedlock and following a divorce or dissertation. The same rules apply to great-grandparents.

Previous case law -- or the way other cases of grandparent visitation rights were decided -- could also affect how family courts decide a particular case. In Florida, previous case law doesn't offer a great deal of support for grandparent visitation rights because Florida courts tend to be aggressive in the way they protect citizens' privacy rights. The courts see requests for grandparent visitation to be an invasion of parental privacy. In many cases, courts will not award visitation unless failing to do so would result in harm to the child involved.

Do you want to secure your grandparent visitation rights? It's not a lost cause, and you might be able to assert your legal rights in court.

Source: The Spruce, "Grandparents' Rights in Florida," Susan Adcox, accessed Dec. 08, 2017

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