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What are Grandparents' Rights?

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Family Law on Wednesday, November 4, 2015.

Parents and grandparents both may be aware of the ongoing discussions surrounding grandparents' rights. Both parents and grandparents may wonder, however, exactly what is meant by grandparents' rights. Grandparents' rights, generally, refers to the rights grandparents have to visit their grandchildren.

Grandparents' visitation rights are a fairly new idea in the legal system and may vary by state. Grandparent visitation is intended to permit grandparents to have continuing contact with their grandchildren following divorce, separation or in other types of situations. When grandparents' rights are granted to grandparents, there are generally two types of grandparents' visitation rights that may be permitted by state statutes. Grandparents may enjoy restrictive visitation rights or permissive visitation rights and there are important differences between the two types of visitation rights.

In the case of restrictive grandparents' visitation rights, grandparents can seek visitation rights only in circumstances when the parents are divorced or one or both of the parents are deceased. In states that permit permissive grandparents' visitation rights, the court will consider, when determining whether or not to grant the request, if the request is in the best interests of the children. Because grandparents visitation laws can vary by state, it is important to be familiar with the laws in your state when seeking grandparent visitation or seeking to limit grandparent visitation.

In Florida, grandparent visitation may be awarded if it is in determined to be in the best interests of the children and the parents have divorced; a parent has abandoned the child; or the child was born out of wedlock. Grandparents' rights can be an important issue to many grandparents and a sensitive issue to many parents which is why it is important for both parents and grandparents to understand the legal rights grandparents may enjoy concerning visitation and the role of the family law legal process in helping to secure those rights.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Grandparent Visitation Rights," Accessed Nov. 1, 2015

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