One of the most frustrating possible experiences for a grandparent may involve the parents of a grandchild refusing to give you access. Although you love your grandchildren and may even provide financial support or free babysitting, you could find yourself cut off from the children you love so dearly.
Sometimes, because of a messy divorce or breakup, a parent with custody rights will refuse to let extended family members spend time with them. Other times, the state intervenes to remove a child from their parent’s home, and grandparents worry about losing the relationship they have with those children.
While you may accept a short-term interruption to your relationship because of someone’s emotional response to family conflict, you may start to wonder what rights you have when the issues separating you from your grandchildren extend over multiple weeks or months. When do grandparents have the opportunity to ask the family courts for visitation?
When the children are not with their parents anymore
In theory, the parent who is a child of the grandparents would be the individual advocating for the grandparent to have a relationship with the grandchild. When a parent loses their rights due to family law proceedings or the state terminates their rights because of neglect or abuse, the grandparent would theoretically lose access to the grandchild.
However, the grandparent can ask the courts to award them visitation while the child lives with the other parent or even in foster care. Only in scenarios where the other party or the state can show that the grandparent’s presence would have a negative impact on the child would such cases face any significant pushback. Typically, the courts will happily help preserve the relationships that children in difficult family situations already depend on for support.
Knowing your rights helps you make use of them
If you want to protect your relationship with your grandchildren, you may need to take action if your child’s relationship with the grandchildren suffers damage due to legal concerns. When your grandchildren experience a significant disruption, you may be able to ask for visitation access and provide them with a form of social and emotional support during a difficult time.
Educating yourself about the unique child custody rules in Florida can help you support your grandchildren when they need you the most.