Child custody laws are complicated, but their premise is simple: The best interests of the children matter most. In general, children belong with their parents, and that’s what the courts ultimately try to arrange when awarding custody.
In some cases, though, the parents are unfit, and living under their care may not necessarily be in the best interests of the children. When that happens, the court may consider other possible caregivers such as grandparents.
If your grandchild needs a stable home but you are not sure how to go about getting custody, turn to a child custody lawyer at The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A. Mr. Raheb will be happy to discuss your family’s situation so you can determine the best way to proceed. Call 866-949-0888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a child custody attorney in Naples.
When Do Florida Courts Award Custody to Grandparents?
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, there has been an increase in recent decades in the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren. Researchers have found that today, approximately 2.4 million grandparents are raising 4.5 million grandchildren across the country.
Although Family Court tries to keep children with their parents, doing so is not always in their best interests. The court might award custody to grandparents if:
- Both parents are deemed unfit;
- Both parents have consented to awarding the grandparents custody;
- The state has documented abuse or neglect in the home;
- Law enforcement personnel have identified drug or alcohol abuse in the home; or
- One parent is unfit and the other parent cannot or will not care for the child.
What Kinds of Custody Arrangements Can Grandparents Secure?
According to the University of Florida, grandparents have several options when it comes to taking care of their grandchildren. When grandparents have informal custody of their grandchildren, it means they act as caregiver, but they do not have any legal rights to make decisions for the children.
Grandparents may secure a formal custody arrangement with a court order. In such an arrangement, the court will determine the extent of the grandparent’s legal rights over the children, and the parent may only terminate this agreement with a court order.
If grandparents obtain guardianship over their grandchildren, they have both physical and legal custody of the kids. This arrangement is permanent until the children turn 18, the court revokes guardianship, or the parent terminates it with a court order.
Adoption is the most permanent form of legal custody and can only occur if the parents consent or if the court has terminated their parental rights. In such a scenario, the parents would lose their rights permanently, and the grandparents would obtain all authority over the children.
If you are interested in securing custody of your grandchild, The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A. can help. As an experienced child custody attorney in Naples, Mr. Raheb can answer your questions about adoption and other family law matters. Call 866-949-0888 to schedule a free consultation with a child custody lawyer in Florida.