Grandparents’ Rights in the Spotlight

Many people don’t realize how few legal rights Florida grandparents have when it comes to visitation with their grandchildren. Even in situations where the child has previously lived with the grandparents, whether it be due to parents struggling with addiction, crime, or other issues, the parents still have the right to control who sees their child and the parent can legally limit contact with the grandparents if they so choose.

Now, a new law is in the works that will allow grandparents a bit more legal standing. Unfortunately, the law only applies to a specific situation: if the parents are both dead, missing, or in a vegetative state. If one parent meets these guidelines and the other is a convicted felon, then the grandparents are allowed to request legal visitation as well.

Some are hopeful that this law may be the first of many that will give grandparents the right to see the grandchildren they love. Others feel stuck and hopeless, knowing that this law does not affect them, and that they still will not be able to see their grandchildren. Especially for grandparents whose grandchildren live out of state, Florida statutes won’t make any difference in their situation. But with Florida having the highest percent of its population over the age of 65, higher than any other state, it makes sense that grandparent rights are getting attention. It is estimated that about 75% of seniors are grandparents.

Still, others are not pleased with the advances in grandparent rights. A parent’s right to privacy is protected under a state constitutional amendment, and some argue that forcing parents to allow grandparent visitation is a violation of that parental right. But while not all grandparents have their grandchild’s best interest in mind when they push for visitation and custody, those that do should have support.

Read the original article here.

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