What happens when a grandparent’s children simply disappear? What happens when those parents then take their children with them, leaving the grandparents without any children or grandchildren? Do grandparents have any rights when it comes to child custody or visitation?
That is precisely what is being asked in Florida by a group of concerned grandparents.
Tallahassee resident Yvonne Stewart hasn’t seen or heard anything of her daughter in over 3 years, or her grandchildren, who now live with their father. Further complicating matters, police have been unable to find the mother, either, and the children’s father is the only suspect in the case.
Naturally, this is of concern to Stewart, who until now has been legally unable to even see her grandchildren. They were 3 years old at the time their mother disappeared, so they likely do not even remember any of their family members beside their father.
Stewart says that the fact that grandparents have no legal rights when it comes to their grandchildren is terrible. She, and others, are pushing hard for a bill that would grant grandparents certain rights (including visitation) in situations just like these, and also in cases where a parent goes missing, is killed, or is in a vegetative state.
While Stewart has been pushing for this for quite some time now, recent results are promising to her. The grandparents’ rights bill has passed all Florida House committees, and is making continued progress through the legal system. A few more committees need to rubberstamp it before the Senate gets to vote, but Stewart is optimistic.