What Grandparents Need to Know About Child Custody

A grandparent’s love is like no other, and it can be hard to watch your grandchildren endure parental conflict, or to be alienated from the children during a breakup or divorce. In Florida, grandparent’s rights are limited when it comes to visitation and custody, and the courts generally will not side with a grandparent over a parent unless it has been shown that not doing so could endanger the child’s life.

Florida will not grant court ordered visitation to a grandparent if the parent has forbidden them from seeing the child. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Both parents pass away, are missing or unable to be contacted
  • The child was born out of wedlock and the parents never married
  • One of the parents was convicted of a violent felony or there is a history of violent behavior
  • It is otherwise determined that it would be in the best interests of the child.

While uncommon, grandparents may be granted custody of a child whose parents have been deemed unfit or a danger to the child. The grandparents’ ability to care for the child will be taken into consideration and the court will evaluate the grandparents on:

  • Their ability to care for the child and the stability of the child’s new proposed home
  • The mental and physical health of the grandparents
  • Their willingness to allow continued contact with the parents
  • The child’s preferences

In some cases, concurrent custody can be awarded to extended family when the parents of a child are unable to provide care or cannot be reached. This short term solution ends once the parents have been located and are able to continue providing care. If the court determines that the parents are unfit to care for the child, the grandparent may be granted temporary custody.

If you are in need of a lawyer experienced in grandparent’s rights or help with filing for temporary custody, call the Law Office of Joseph Cerino today at (239) 561-2820.

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The law office of Joseph Cerino handles all matters of litigation, concentrating in family law including divorce, custody, child support, paternity, alimony, property division and domestic violence, as well as, criminal defense and appeals in Southwest Florida.

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