Divorce not only impacts a couple’s immediate family; it can also impact a grandparent’s ability to see their grandchildren. Grandparents have the right to be granted custody of their grandchildren or even court-mandated visitation with their grandchildren. Legislation has been put into place over the past 35 years to ensure that grandparents do have rights to see their grandchildren in each state.
What factors are considered for grandparent custody or visitation?
Grandparents can be awarded court-granted custody or visitation only when certain statues implemented by the state are met. Each state may consider slightly different factors and it is best to understand these factors before filing a petition with the court. In the state of Florida, the court may order visitation if it is in the best interest of the child and one of the three following conditions have been met:
- The parents’ marriage has been dissolved
- A parent has deserted the child
- The child was born out of wedlock and the parents never marry
How does the court determine the best interest of the child?
Every court considers the best interests of the child when granting custody or visitation to a grandparent. Before making a decision the court looks at all of the following factors. The absence of one factor make their decision go one way or the other.
- The willingness of the grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and parents
- The length and quality of the relationship between the grandparents and child before the divorce
- If the child is old enough to express a preference, that preference will be considered
- The mental and physical health of the child
- The mental and physical health of the grandparent
- The judge may also consider any other relevant factors
If you’d like to speak to a lawyer about your grandparent rights, contact us here.