Grandparents have limited visitation rights in Florida. As in most states, Florida courts have increasingly followed suit with a decision made by the Supreme Court a few years ago that takes the position that parents’ right to decide what is best for their own children is a Constitutionally protected right.
However, the state laws are slightly more generous in awarding visitation to grandparents if visitation is in the child's best interest and one of the following situations applies:
A. The marriage of the child's parents has been dissolved, or
B. A parent has deserted a child, or
C. The child was born out of wedlock.
In determining whether to grant visitation rights to grandparents, the courts consider the following
1. The willingness of the grandparent or grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents.
2. The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent or grandparents.
3. The preference of the child if the child is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.
4. The mental and physical health of the child.
5. The mental and physical health of the grandparent or grandparents.
6. Such other factors as are necessary in the particular circumstances.
A 2009 report on grandparent visitation rights by the Florida Senate found that about 4.5 million children in the United States live in grandparent-headed households. That same report found that 7.1 percent (258,952 children) of all children live in grandparent-headed households in Florida.