Unfortunately, Florida is not a state that gives grandparents many rights to their grandchildren. Some states give grandparents a great deal of rights with respect to their grandchildren, such as the right to intervene in a divorce or custody case in order to obtain visitation.
Florida actually does have a statute that gives grandparents the right to visitation with their grandchildren, but it has been declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court on numerous occasions.
However, you may still have the opportunity to intervene to help prevent your grandchildren from leaving the state. If both of the parents of your grandchildren choose to move the children out of state, you are out of luck – that is their legal right as parents.
If one of the parents is moving the children more than 50 miles away, the other parent can attempt to prevent the move.
The court will then normally have a hearing about whether or not to allow the relocation of the child. The judge will consider the reason for the relocation, whether it will enhance the child’s quality of life, whether it’s in the best interests of the child, how the move will impact the child’s education, and whether the relationship can be preserved between the child and the other parent if the move is allowed.
During that hearing, you could testify to how the move would negatively impact your relationship with the child, and how your relationship with your grandchildren is in their best interests.
Therefore, it may be possible to show in court that it would not be in the best interests of your grandchildren to move away, and that evidence could sway the judge’s decision. However, you will be working in conjunction with the non-relocating parent, rather than bringing the case on your own.
It can be very tough to be separated from your grandchildren, especially if you have a very close relationship. You should be careful, though, to preserve your relationship with both parents of the children as much as possible. If you want to learn more about your legal rights as grandparents, call Pasco County, Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. I work with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call me to schedule a consultation.