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Can Grandparents Obtain Custody of Their Grandchild?

Grandparents’ rights in Florida are limited when it comes to matters such as pursuing custody and visitation time with their grandchild. The court will not put a grandparent’s preferences over a parent’s unless it can be proven that doing so would be harmful to the child. There are situations where the court may provide visitation rights and temporary or sole custody to a grandparent, although this is not common. Today, we discuss whether a grandparent can get custody of their grandchild.

How to Get Temporary Custody of a Grandchild

Florida law gives extended family members the right to gain temporary (also known as concurrent custody) of minor children if the parents cannot do so themselves or cannot be located. Concurrent custody is only a short-term solution. Once one or both parents can return to their role as the primary caregiver, the child will no longer need to be in the care of the temporary caregiver.

If it has been proven that the child’s parents cannot adequately provide for the child, the court may award the grandparent(s) custodial rights in the form of temporary custody. Temporary custody will be granted even if a parent objects if there is substantial evidence that this parent has abused, harmed, and/or neglected the child.

How to Be Awarded Visitation Time with a Grandchild

Court-ordered visitation could be granted to grandparents in the event:

  • Both the child’s parents die
  • Both parents are missing and cannot be contacted
  • Child was born out of wedlock and the parents never married
  • One parent has been convicted of a violent offense felony
  • One parent has a history of violent behavior and cannot provide a safe home environment

How to File for Temporary Custody

It is advisable to consult with an experienced grandparents’ rights attorney before filing for temporary custody. When you are ready to file for temporary custody, you will complete the Florida Temporary Guardianship Form with the help of your attorney and submit it.

A grandparent is legally allowed to file an action requesting visitation once during a 2-year period.

What Factors Will the Court Consider Before Awarding Temporary Custody?

The first factor the court will take into consideration is the best interest of the child. Additionally, the court will evaluate the grandparents’ relationship with the child, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Grandparents’ ability to care for the child
  • Willingness to allow continued contact with the child’s parents
  • Child’s preferences (if the child is mature enough)
  • Mental and physical health of the grandparents
  • Stability of the child’s new, proposed home

When Can Grandparents Get Child Custody?

It is not common; however, under certain circumstance, a grandparent may be able to obtain custody of their grandchild. If the court finds that doing so would be in the child’s best interests and the parents have been deemed unfit or pose a danger to the child, a grandparent could receive custody. This varies on a case-by-case basis.

Grandparent Visitation Rights

What happens when a parent refuses to allow their child’s grandparents visitation time? Unfortunately, a grandparent cannot ask the court for assistance if the child’s parent has forbidden visitation time unless the child has been removed from the parent’s custody and the visitation time is found to serve the child’s best interests. Parents’ rights over their children cannot be overridden unless the parent has put the child in danger.

To determine your rights to custody and visitation as a grandparent, contact our office online or call us at (727) 312-1112 to schedule a consultation.

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