Many across the country associate Florida with their grandparents, as many move to the Sunshine State in retirement, but as far as visitation rights go, grandparents do not have legal standing here. As the Sun Sentinel reports, while some states do offer visitation rights to grandparents, Florida courts consistently have found on the part of parents that forcing visitation with grandparents is a violation of privacy.
The exception to this rule is a law passed in 2015, which allows grandparents the rights to visitation with grandchildren if both parents have died, have gone missing or are in “a persistent vegetative state.” If one parent has a felony and the other is in one of the aforementioned states, grandparents are also then able to have visitation rights. Because grandparents have no legal rights in Florida, when a problem arises, like addiction, that causes the grandparent to watch over the grandchild they are sometimes forced to prove their own son or daughter unfit to be a parent in order to adopt the grandchild.
A recent case before the Florida Supreme Court has determined that there is at least one time where a grandparent has visitation rights. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the court recently ruled in favor of grandparents who were granted visitation in the state of Colorado, where their grandchildren previously lived. They determined that since the Colorado courts had granted visitation rights, overturning that decision would be in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, which respects the judicial process in other states. While this case cannot help Florida grandparents, it may open the door to grandparents from other states who had visitation granted before their grandchildren moved away.