In Florida, currently 7.1% of children live in grandparent-headed households; however grandparent rights are limited. The courts say that due to the right of privacy, grandparents have little or no rights to their grandchildren. There are exceptions, however.
A new law was passed to help Florida active duty military service members, which states that if a service member is deployed for over 90 days, he/she is able to designate a 3rd person to exercise time-sharing in his/her place. The designee shall be limited to a family member, a stepparent, or a relative. There are other provisions to this law, so you must contact an attorney that’s knowledgeable regarding military law to get more information about this law.
This law is important for grandparents as well because during this period of time the grandparent may be the designee while the service member is deployed. This is also important to know for those involved in a military divorce.
Florida law may also offer concurrent custody with extended family members, such as a grandparent. However, in this situation, the grandparent is not able to enroll the child in school or make medical decisions.
Showing that the grandparent has had a continuing relationship with the child is also very important in ensuring grandparent contact.
Another method for a grandparent to maintain a close relationship with the child is to become the guardian of the child, in which the grandparent may easily make decisions on behalf of the child without the biological parent(s) consent.
Parties in a case often agree that a grandparent maintain a close relationship relationship with the child(ren) and that agreement would be enforceable.
With regard to dependency proceedings, grandparents as well as any concerned party may initiate proceedings to protect the well-being of the concerned child.
Essentially, Florida is getting more and more difficult for grandparents to have any rights at all, and it’s important to talk to an experienced family law attorney attorney who handles Florida grandparents’ rights on a regular basis. Please contact us for a free consultation to find out what your rights are.