FloridaChild Visitation Laws
Florida Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
What is child visitation?In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.
In general, courts in Florida assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.
Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Florida, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.
Above all else, courts in Florida strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about Florida's visitation guildelines on this page.
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What are the Criteria in Granting Visitation Rights?
In Florida, a biological parent of a minor child may request visitation rights as part of an open divorce, parentage or custody case. When reviewing a request for visitation, the court will base their decision on whether granting a parent visitation would be in the "best interests of the child. Under the relevant custody statute the court "shall consider the totality of the circumstances affecting the mental and emotional well-being of the minor child."
Grandparents are allowed visitation, however, they may only obtain visitation rights if it is in the child's best interest and:
(1) the marriage of the child's parents has been dissolved
(2) a parent has deserted a child
(3) the child was born out of wedlock.
In the state of Florida, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Florida's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.
Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In Florida:
Florida has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. Under state law, the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents are alive, regardless of the parent's marital status.
Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, a Florida court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In Florida:
Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Florida?
Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.
The state of Florida does not have any laws that grant child visitation rights to step-parents, which may make applying for visitation significantly harder. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Florida?
Under state of Florida law, it is not generally possible for any other interested party other than those specified to be granted child visitation rights. In rare cases this may be overruled by the court.
Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Florida?
In the state of Florida it may not be possible to be granted visitation rights after losing parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.