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What are the visitation rights of a grandparent in Florida?

Florida courts will grant a grandparent reasonable visitation with their grandchild if the court deems it to be in the best interests of the child. In order for a court to award visitation, one of the parents must have deserted the child, the child was born out of wedlock or the child's parents' marriage ended in dissolution.

In determining whether grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child, the court looks at a number of factors. The court considers whether the grandparent will encourage a close relationship between the child and his or her parents, the quality and length of the prior relationship between the grandparent and the child and what the child wishes if able to express his or her preference.

Additional factors include the child's physical and mental health, the physical and mental health of the grandparent and any other factors necessary to be considered in a particular set of circumstances. However, grandparent visitation is not awarded to grandparents of children who were placed for adoption, unless the adoption was by a stepparent.

It is possible in Florida for a grandparent to be granted visitation by filing a petition in court. Prior to that taking place, however, going through mediation with the parents may be advisable. In some situations, a parent will try to prevent a child from seeing a grandparent with whom the child has had a close relationship. In those cases, the grandparent may wish to seek the services of a family law attorney who has experience in these types of matters and who can help the client draft and file the petition.

Source: Online Sunshine, "CHAPTER 752 GRANDPARENTAL VISITATION RIGHTS", October 29, 2014

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