Articles Posted in Grandparent visitation rights

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When it comes time for the court to determine and establish a time sharing and parenting plan between the biological parents of a minor child, the court applies the “best interests of the child” test in making its consideration.

There are numerous factors that the court will look at in making its determination as to the best interests of the child.  All of these various factors are set forth in Florida Statute 61.13.  You can review the criteria under the statute and examine the nonexclusive list of things the judge will be looking at when you go to court.

What happens in a case, however, when only one biological parent is competing with a relative, for example, a grandparent, for custody and time sharing with a minor child?  How will the court look at a situation like this? Will the judge apply the same standards regarding the best interests of the child in structuring a time sharing or custody arrangement of the child?

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grandparents desktop.jpgUnder Florida law, the rights of grandparents are extremely limited. In fact, recent cases have indicated that grandparents do not have the right to visit with their grandchildren over the objection of the child’s parents. Any law to the contrary has been declared unconstitutional.

In 2004, the Supreme Court of Florida made it very clear that any law which afforded grandparents the right to visit with their grandchildren was unconstitutional. A full explanation of their analysis can be found in the case of Sullivan v. Sapp, 866 So.2d 28 (Fla. 2004).

The Supreme Court has consistently stated that based upon the privacy provision of the Florida Constitution, the state may not intrude upon the parents’ fundamental right to raise their children except in cases where the child is threatened with harm.