Even if you don’t have a particularly close relationship with your in-laws, you have probably tried to be supportive of them, especially once they had children. Becoming a grandparent is an incredible experience, but your relationship with your grandchildren is often largely dependent on the relationship that you have with your child and their romantic partner.
If your child breaks up with or divorces the other parent, your time with the grandchildren could be a casualty of that change. If your child loses custody or moves away after the divorce, your only opportunity to see your grandchildren will depend on their ex, who may not be enthusiastic about spending time with you anymore.
Does that mean you are at their mercy regarding your relationship with your grandchildren?
Florida grants grandparents the right to visitation
Ideally, you would be able to arrive at an amicable solution with your child’s ex that allows you to stay involved with your grandchildren. However, if they refuse to communicate with you or allow you to interact with the children, then you can ask the state to intervene.
Florida’s family laws include rules that acknowledge the important role a grandparent often plays. Grandparents typically have the right to request visitation even if parents are unwilling to arrange that visitation directly. A grandparent can ask the family courts to award them visitation much like a parent can receive time with their children.
Typically, the courts view keeping involved adults close with the children as what is best for the children. Unless there are grounds for the parent to claim that your presence endangers the children in some way, you can likely get visitation even if the parent with legal decision-making authority doesn’t like it.
Asserting your rights is often what is best for the children
A parent still reeling from the painful changes of a divorce may make very selfish decisions about matters like grandparent visitation.
Asserting your rights may lead to more conflict in the near future, as you will likely clash with the parent who wants to deny you access. As time passes and you demonstrate your commitment to the children, you may be able to rebuild your relationship with your former son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
Knowing the Florida rules about grandparents’ rights can help you protect your relationship with your grandchildren.