In a perfect world a child would grow up with a big family, including grandparents. There is no doubt that grandparents can provide stability, safety, wisdom, and support to a child, which ultimately is in a child’s best interest. Additionally, there is a plethora of evidence showing the many benefits of a healthy relationship and involvement between a child and his or her grandparents. It is no secret that children who have consistent contact with their grandparents are often happier and more balanced. Grandparents can be an invaluable asset to families, whether through their love and support, or by providing free and fun child care services or funds for adventures.
When families fall apart and divorce knocks on the door, emotions, at times, get in the way of a husband or wife allowing their in-laws to spend time or even see their grandchildren. While this is heartbreaking and only harms the children, there is (unfortunately) very little a grandparent can do in Florida to see his or her grandchild(ren) if the parents object.
Florida Statute 752.011 addresses petitions for grandparent visitation. Per this statute a “grandparent of a minor child whose parents are deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state, or whose one parent is deceased, missing, or in a persistent vegetative state and whose other parent has been convicted of a felony or an offense of violence evincing behavior that poses a substantial threat of harm to the minor child’s health or welfare, may petition the court for court-ordered visitation with the grandchild…”
While we have a large elderly population in our Sunshine State (lots of wonderful grandparents), historically the legislature’s hands have been tied trying to pass laws providing for grandparent visitation as this type of law would violate the constitutional rights of the parents.