Florida child custody and visitation laws, do grandparents have rights to see grandchildren

Asked over 5 years ago - Florida

Our son and daughter-in-law have lived appart in different states several years, but are not divorced. She is in Florida; he is in Colorado. She continues to dangle the possibility of reconciliation at him, but won't allow him to talk with or see his children. She says this is because her mother, who supports her and the children financially -- according to her beliefs -- won't allow it. No contact for him 'til he can support them in the same manner she does -- which is not possible, but I'm not sure he sees that part of "the deal" clearly.
Our relationship with our daughter-in-law and grandchildren, however, had been good, with lots of trips and visits (always paid for by us) and frequent communication. She and the children were also close with our other daughters and their families here in Colorado.
Then suddenly, last May, she stopped answering/returning phone calls and emails, nor have there been responses to gifts and letters sent. Checks sent as gifts have not been cashed. She took her myspace page "private" after we tried contacting her there. Attempts to contact her father, with whom she lives, have also been ignored -- or screened. Our son refuses to get involved because nothing is different as far as he is concerned -- and he believes her mother has just extended the "no contact" rule to us.
We believe this whole "my mom" thing is a sham, but the only clue we have to why she is doing this is a suggestion by our attorney here that Florida law may allow her to petition for divorce and termination of parental rights via public notice if she doesn't know where her husband and the children's father is. Which is absolutely not true, but perhaps a "logical" reason she has broken off all contact with our family.
Another strange possibility is that she has gone off the deep end, and God has told her to do this -- although I have no clue why She would. The last email from her in April told me she had "turned her life over to God." She has never shown particularly strong conservative convictions, but her mother is a fundamentalist. And our Grandson is enrolled in a Christian school -- very expensive, but also pretty fundamentalist, I believe. He told his cousin she was going to hell because she had not been baptized.
I have contacted an attorney in Florida who was referred by a frien, and another answer-your-question legal site. The attorney did not return my 2 emails or a phone calls. I was notified my question to the service "expired" before anyone answered it.
This doesn't seem to be a situation of interest -- possibly because there is no divorce, and our daughter-in-law does have the right to control our family's access to the children. I would appreciate knowing this for a fact, however -- or advice on how to tackle the situation in a manner that won't tolally alienate our daughter-in-law who truly is in charge; or our son who chooses to believe things will all be "ok" once she gets out from under her mother's control.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Pamela S. Wynn

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    7

    Answered . In some states grandparents have more rights than they do in Florida, where you only have visitation rights if DCF is involved. Because the children have been in Colorado, that is the state that will likely have jurisdiction of them. That means it will depend on Colorado grandparent laws.

  2. Jeffrey Patrick Bassett

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    7

    Answered . To add to previous answers, as the children appear to be in Florida, there are no "grandparents rights" (due to a change in law a few years back) unless (1) there is an ongoing dependency proceeding and (2) the children are NOT in the home with a parent. Given the facts as you lay them out, there does not appear to be a dependency proceeding ongoing at this time and the children are with a parent. While you may wish to directly consult with an attorney, it does not appear, under Florida law, that you have a legal basis to enforce visitation.

  3. John Arthur Smitten

    Contributor Level 18

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    9

    Answered . Grandparents do have rights but under limited circumstances.

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