Seeking Custody Of Your Grandchild
Under most circumstances, a child’s legal parents are the only adults who have parental rights to him or her. This means they are the only people who have custody of the child and the rights that come with custody, like the right to access the child’s medical records and the right to determine who will have a relationship with the child.
When the child’s legal parents are not available to play this role, the child’s grandparents or other relatives may seek custody of him or her. This is not given automatically – in order for a grandparent or another relative, such as an older sibling or an aunt or uncle, the adult seeking custody must demonstrate to the court that him or her having custody is in the child’s best interest.
Circumstances Under Which a Grandparent can Seek Custody
In Florida, a grandparent may seek custody of a child when:
- Both of the child’s parents are in a permanent vegetative state, reported missing, or deceased; or
- One parent is missing, deceased, or in a vegetative state and the other has been convicted of a violent crime that poses a risk to the child’s health or safety.
Your Rights as your Grandchild’s Legal Guardian
You may be granted temporary or permanent custody of your grandchild. In this position, you have the following rights:
- To consent to medical and dental procedures for the child;
- To access his or her medical records;
- To access his or her educational records;
- To enroll him or her in school;
- To access any other records necessary to enroll the child in school, sports, or receive medical care;
- To consent to having the child tested for special education services; and
- To perform all other parental roles necessary for raising a child.
Demonstrating that Having Custody is in your Grandchild’s Best Interest
Custody of a grandchild is not automatically granted. Rather, once the grandparent files a petition for visitation or custody of the child, the court schedules a hearing to determine whether granting visitation or custodial rights is in the child’s best interest.
Factors the court considers to determine whether visitation or custody is in the child’s best interest include:
- The grandparent’s ability to provide for the child’s day-to-day needs;
- How granting visitation or custody would change the child’s established routine and the effect this change would have on the child emotionally;
- Any history of domestic violence in the grandparent’s home;
- The grandparent’s physical and mental health status; and
- The stability and permanence of the grandparent’s home.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Family Lawyer
As a grandparent in Florida, you have certain rights to your grandchild. When you are seeking custody of your grandchild, work with an experienced Tampa family lawyer who is familiar with these rights and can advocate for your rights in court. To learn more, contact our team at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.