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Exception to narrow Florida grandparents visitation rights

While many grandparents across Florida enjoy close relationships with their grandchildren, for those who do not there is not much legal recourse. Yet for two grandparents in Colorado, the courts have made an exception.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of grandparents who were able to get an order for visitation from the Colorado courts. The grandchildren moved to Florida after their father, the son of the grandparents in question, died, and wanting to have the right to see their grandchildren, they filed a motion for visitation in their state. The mother of the children, who now lived in Florida, filed her own motion. Seven years later, the court decided that honoring the visitation order is in following the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which the U.S. Constitution says requires states to recognize other states’ judicial activities. The decision explicitly stated that the ruling would not apply to grandparents in Florida.

In fact, Florida grandparents have very few rights to visitation. According to the Sun Sentinel, grandparents in the Sunshine State are only granted visitation in very limited circumstances. If both parents are missing, have died, or are “in a persistent vegetative state,” then the grandparents are granted visitation rights similar to a parent in a divorce. This also applies to grandparents when one parent meets the required state (i.e., has died) and the other is a convicted felon. This is a very narrow window for grandparents’ rights, and otherwise the court has ruled time and again that it is against the parents’ rights to privacy to force visitation with grandparents.

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