Grandparents Have Rights. Or Do They?

Times change. And so the law changes. And changes again sometimes.

Once upon a time in Florida, a court generally could not order visitation for grandparents. (Of course, there were and are exceptions to every “rule”.)

Then Florida law changed. Grandparents “got” rights. More than one Florida statute authorized a court to order visitation for grandparents where it was in a grandchild’s best interests.

As of today, there is still at least one Florida statute “on the books” authorizing grandparent visitation where it is merely in the grandchild’s best interests.

But, you can’t always believe what you read. As I indicated in But the Statute Says…, it doesn’t always matter what a statute says.

The law is what the court cases say it is.

For a number of years, the Florida Supreme Court has been chipping away at Florida statutes that have authorized grandparent visitation. In fact, the United States Supreme Court has also struck down similar statutes passed in other states.

In light of these cases, it seems that Florida grandparents had rights. So-called grandparent rights have been considerably diluted now.

A grandparent today is most likely not going to get far arguing to a judge that visitation would be in his or her grandchild’s best interests. That’s no longer enough.

That doesn’t mean that a grandparent can never get visitation with (or even custody of) a grandchild. It just means that it requires special circumstances.