As seasoned family law attorneys, we realize the complications that can arise when parents are divorced, especially when children are concerned. Whether you are a mother, father, stepparent, or grandparent, we understand parties want to play a role in the children’s lives, especially when they might be excluded from a family law custody or visitation order. Consulting with an attorney early in the process can help ensure your rights are not ignored.Family Matters and Rights Involving Children
When looking at any family law matter involving children, it is crucial to keep the interests of the children at the forefront of any decision. With this in mind, the court tries to keep children with their parents, as long as it is not a harmful environment – whether it that means primary custody for the child’s mother or father. Today, many men have custody of their children as a result. However, if the child’s biological parents can't provide a stable home for the child for any number of reasons, a stepparent or grandparent may be able to assume this role.
How do you know what you are entitled to when it comes to the custody of children, and your visitation rights? Ultimately, speaking with a highly experienced family law attorney is in your best interest. A lawyer who focuses on the rights of parents and extended family members can educate you regarding the law, what your rights are, and what you cannot do. In every situation, the court's primary concern is the well-being and stability of the children. As a result, many factors come into play when determining the rights of a mother, father, stepparent, or grandparent.Biological Parent’s Rights
Parental rights concern a biological parent’s right to raise their children in the manner they wish to do if it does not jeopardize the health or safety of the child. Since they are the child’s biological parents, they normally do not need to petition for theirs rights to be recognized in the same manner that a stepparent or grandparent may have to. However, if the court has deemed the parent to be unfit, the biological parents may have to petition to have their rights reinstated. In these instances, the court may order supervised visitation to ensure the child is safe around the parents. It can be scary for parents who are threatened with losing their parental rights, but there are usually ways to retain these rights. Only in extreme cases of neglect or abuse are parents unable to petition for their rights again.Stepparent’s Rights
If the biological parents have been found fit by the court, their rights will trump those of a stepparent. As a result, the child’s legal or biological parent must give approval for a stepparent to be granted visitation rights. By legally adopting the child during your marriage, your rights can be preserved if you were to later divorce the child’s biological parent. While we never plan to divorce when entering a marriage, by planning ahead you can protect your rights with your stepchild.Grandparent’s Rights
Once a child custody order is established, grandparents may be left without the visitation rights they were accustomed to during the biological parents’ marriage. Normally grandparents are not granted custody in Florida, unless they can prove that the biological parents pose a threat to the children’s safety or wellbeing. Courts may also choose to grant temporary custody to a grandparent if it is in the best interest of the children involved. Since it is a difficult threshold to prove, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to assure your rights as a grandparent are protected after the children’s parents’ divorce.Contact Adams & Luka Today
As a parent, you may feel that you have certain rights when it comes to time-sharing of your children, financial support, or other matters. Grandparents may be concerned whether they have custody or visitation rights, particularly if a parent or parents seem unsuited for caring for children (drug or alcohol addiction, or some manner of instability). Stepparents frequently are not sure where to draw the line when it comes to a spouse's children, or whether adoption may be a possibility. At Adams & Luka, we work on behalf of our clients to achieve your desired result when possible, whether it pertains to asserting your rights as a mother, father, stepparent, or grandparent. We understand that the laws in Florida pertaining to the custody and visitation of children are complex, and therefore we work to help you understand the process and what is required to meet your goals. Our family law attorneys are ready to answer your questions and provide the legal guidance you need to understand your options and work toward your desired results. Contact our office now for a free consultation at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084 and let us begin working on your case.