Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation Attorney

Grandparent Visitation Lawyer Assisting FL Residents for Nearly 20 Years

Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation LawyerGrandparent visitation rights in Florida are at odds with parents’ fundamental right to privacy.  The only way that the state can interfere with one’s fundamental rights is if the state has a “compelling interest.” The Florida Supreme Court has held prior grandparent visitation statutes in Florida to be unconstitutional.   In Beagle v. Beagle, 678 So. 2d 1271 (Fla. 1996), the Florida Supreme Court quashed the First District’s Beagle opinion and remanded with directions to affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the grandparents’ petition citing the parents’ fundamental right to privacy. The Florida Supreme Court explained that parenting is protected by the right to privacy, a fundamental right, and any intrusion upon that right must be justified by a compelling state interest. A Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation Attorney will be here for you in this process.

Legal Interest Visitation

The Florida Supreme Court reasoned that the challenged paragraph in Beagle does not require the state to demonstrate harm to the child prior to the award of grandparental visitation rights. Based upon the privacy provision in the Florida Constitution, the Florida Supreme Court held that the state may not intrude upon the parents’ fundamental right to raise their children except in cases where the child is threatened with harm.  The Florida Supreme Court held that in the absence of an explicit requirement of harm or detriment to the child a grandparent visitation provision is facially flawed. The Florida Supreme Court in Beagle did not render grandparent visitation unconstitutional, it only answered the narrow question of whether the state had shown a compelling state interest in imposing grandparental visitation rights on an intact family over the objection of a parent.  The Beagle court concluded there was no compelling state interest unless the state is acting to prevent demonstrable harm to a child.

CS/CS/HB 149  – Rights of Grandparents

The Florida Legislature approved HB 149  and it subsequently headed to the Governor for the final decision, being approved on 6/11/2015.  HB 149 granted grandparents and great-grandparents rights to request visitation with their grandchildren when a dependency case is in progress.  Under HB 149, a grandparent or a minor child whose parents are deceased, missing, or in a permanent vegetative state and whose other parent has been convicted of an offense of violence may petition the court for visitation with the grandchild. After final hearing, the court may award reasonable visitation to the grandparent with respect to the minor child if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is unfit or that there is danger of significant harm to the child, that visitation is in the best interest of the minor child, and that the visitation will not materially harm the parent-child relationship.  To see if you meet these strict standards you should talk to an experienced Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation Attorney.

Sometimes grandparents can fall within the scope of the “temporary custody of minor children by extended family” statute in which case the standards may be easier to meet and the range of rights is broader.  There can be no doubt that grandparents have traditionally afforded children another layer of love and nurturing which enhances their development.  Grandparents’ right to petition for visitation under the law is unique to the circumstances of each case and is thwarted by the parents’ fundamental rights to raise their own children and to privacy.  If you have questions about your rights you should consult with an experienced Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation Attorney.

Your Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation Attorney Services in Florida

If you or anyone you know needs help with grandparent visitation rights, you should immediately consult with a family law attorney who specializes in marital and family law so that they can properly evaluate your case.  You should hire an attorney who has extensive experience litigating grandparent custody and visitation cases.  For questions about your rights, contact your Jacksonville Grandparent Visitation Attorney today at (904) 360-6100.

Remember: for Family Law, choose Family Values.