Visitation and Custody Rights of Grandparents
Divorce and separation affect more than just parents and their children. Often grandparents, aunts and uncles and other close relatives who were used to spending significant time with a child miss the time they once shared with their grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Sometimes grandparents and other relatives have not been considered in the visitation schedules even when family lawyers have already been involved.
How Can a Grandparent Get Visitation?
Sadly, in Florida, grandparents have no visitation rights in general unless both parents agree to this or if there are other extenuating circumstances. The best way is to ask both parents for time with the grandchildren if the parents have shared custody. If that is not an option because the parents are not both involved due to death, incarceration, abandonment, neglect or even being in a persistent vegetative state, you can request visitation. You will need to do this through family lawyers because you must also prove that there is “significant harm to the child” by not having you involved in their life.
Encourage Your Child to Name You as a Guardian
Family lawyers also often help with estate law. If you are a grandparent and want to remain involved in your grandchild’s life in the event something happens to your child, suggest that they name you as a guardian of their children in their will. Having this information in a legal document will help your case in the event that your child becomes incapacitated or dies.
However, in the case where there is shared custody between two parents, you do not automatically get to continue with the custody arrangement just because you are named as the guardian. It is often difficult for grandparents (or other relatives) to gain joint custody with a legal parent. With the help of family lawyers, you can petition the court and a judge will decide what is in the best interest of the child.
Suing for Custody
In Florida, grandparents do not automatically get custody if no one is named in a will and both parents are unfit or unable to parent. However, in cases where a parent is unable to parent the child, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Working with family lawyers, like those at Wagstaff Law Office, will help you in your case. We offer no-obligation consultations where we will discuss the specifics of your situation and advise you if we believe we can help. If you need family lawyers for custody, visitation, or any other matter, call Wagstaff Law Office at (727) 584-8182 to schedule an appointment.