This is an article written by Joe Gufford an attorney in Stuart Florida. The Supreme Court of the United States and the Florida Supreme Court has determined that most grandparent rights statutes are unconstitutional. So, while even though there are laws on the books giving grandparents rights, those laws have no pratical or legal effect. So, what to do. The first consideration is to excercise access through your son or daughter who has rights to see the child. If those rights haven't been established, then they can be. If that's not a posibility then you need to consider other avenues. One of those avenues is an action under Chapter 751 of the Florida Statutes (TEMPORARY CUSTODY OF MINOR CHILDREN BY EXTENDED FAMILY). Fla. Stat. provides as follows:
751.011 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Concurrent custody" means that an eligible extended family member is awarded custodial rights to care for a child concurrently with the child’s parent or parents. (2) “Extended family member" means a person who is: (a) A relative of a minor child within the third degree by blood or marriage to the parent; or (b) The stepparent of a minor child if the stepparent is currently married to the parent of the child and is not a party in a pending dissolution, separate maintenance, domestic violence, or other civil or criminal proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction involving one or both of the child’s parents as an adverse party. Fla. Stat. 751.02 provides as follows: 751.02 Temporary or concurrent custody proceedings; jurisdiction.— (1) The following individuals may bring proceedings in the circuit court to determine the temporary or concurrent custody of a minor child: (a) Any extended family member who has the signed, notarized consent of the child’s legal parents; or (b) Any extended family member who is caring full time for the child in the role of a substitute parent and with whom the child is presently living. (2) In addition to the requirements of subsection (1), an individual seeking concurrent custody must: (a) Currently have physical custody of the child and have had physical custody of the child for at least 10 days in any 30-day period within the last 12 months; and (b) Not have signed, written documentation from a parent which is sufficient to enable the custodian to do all of the things necessary to care for the child which are available to custodians who have an order issued under s. 751.05. Fla Stat. 751.03 provides as follows: 751.03 Petition for temporary or concurrent custody; contents.—Each petition for temporary or concurrent custody of a minor child must be verified by the petitioner, who must be an extended family member, and must contain statements, to the best of the petitioner’s knowledge and belief, providing: (1) The name, date of birth, and current address of the child. (2) The names and current addresses of the child’s parents. (3) The names and current addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during the past 5 years. (4) The places where the child has lived during the past 5 years. (5) Information concerning any custody proceeding in this or any other state with respect to the child. (6) The residence and post office address of the petitioner. (7) The petitioner’s relationship to the child. (8) If concurrent custody is being requested: (a) The time periods during the last 12 months that the child resided with the petitioner; (b) The type of document, if any, provided by the parent or parents to enable the petitioner to act on behalf of the child; (c) The services or actions that the petitioner is unable to obtain or undertake without an order of custody; and (d) Whether each parent has consented in writing to the entry of an order of concurrent custody.
A copy of the written consent and any documents provided by the parent to assist the petitioner in obtaining services must be attached to the petition.
(9) If temporary custody is being requested, the consent of the child’s parents, or the specific acts or omissions of the parents which demonstrate that the parents have abused, abandoned, or neglected the child as defined in chapter 39. (10) Any temporary or permanent orders for child support, the court entering the order, and the case number. (11) Any temporary or permanent order for protection entered on behalf of or against either parent, the petitioner, or the child; the court entering the order; and the case number. (12) That it is in the best interest of the child for the petitioner to have custody of the child. (13) A statement of the period of time the petitioner is requesting temporary custody, including a statement of the reasons supporting that request. Ther are other possible avenues to consider as well. Call Joseph Gufford attorney to discuss your case today and how we can help.