Exercising your Rights as a Grandparent
Grandparents’ rights are handled differently from state to state. In Florida, grandparents do have the right to seek custody of their grandchildren, but this right is fairly limited. Only under very specific circumstances do grandparents in Florida have the right to pursue custody of their grandchildren, and even when these circumstances apply, grandparents must go through a lengthy court process to be granted this right.
If you are a grandparent considering seeking custody of your grandchild, work with an experienced family lawyer to develop an effective case that demonstrates how living with you is in your grandchild’s best interest.
When Can a Grandparent Exercise His or Her Rights to a Child in Florida?
In Florida, a grandparent can only seek custody of his or her grandchild under the following circumstances:
- Both of the child’s parents are dead, missing, or in permanent vegetative states; or
- One of the child’s parents is dead, missing, or in a permanent vegetative state and the child’s other parent has been convicted of a felony offense or another crime that poses a legitimate threat to the child’s safety.
In the court’s eyes, it is in a child’s best interest to be with his or her parents whenever possible. When this is not possible, the child’s grandparents may step in to seek partial or full custody of the child.
Evidence to Use to Support your Case
In every child custody case, one issue is the sole determining factor: the child’s best interest. During your initial hearings to determine whether you should have the right to pursue custody of your grandchild and in your follow-up petition and any subsequent hearings, you must provide evidence that shows that it is in your grandchild’s best interest to live with you according to the custody arrangement you are seeking.
You can do this with evidence that paints a full picture of your grandchild’s relationship with you. This body of evidence can include:
- Testimonies from your grandchild’s teacher and other adults in his or her life who are familiar with your relationship;
- Documentation of your previous involvement in your grandchild’s life, such as you being the one taking him or her to doctor appointments, helping with homework, and providing the emotional support he or she needs;
- Demonstration of your financial capacity to provide for your grandchild; and
- Information about your home, such as its square footage and amenities, showing that you have space for your grandchild to live with you.
Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Lawyer
As a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, you need to work with an experienced Orlando family lawyer who can be your advocate. It can be quite difficult to effectively show the court that a grandparent is the best choice for a child, so equip yourself and your case with the services of a lawyer who can help you do so. To get started on your case, contact The Law Office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.