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Florida Family Law

Visitation Rights - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have the right to see my children after I am no longer married?
Ordinarily, yes. Under § 61.13(2)(a), F.S., it is the public policy in Florida that each child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a separation or divorce. Florida recognizes no presumption for or against the father or mother, nor against any specific time-sharing schedule. The court will therefore order the parents to share parental rights and responsibilities unless such shared responsibility is determined to be detrimental to the child. A time-sharing schedule should be set forth in the parenting plan in your case which specifies time your children will spend with each parent and the methods and technologies each parent will use to communicate with the children during other times. If you have questions regarding your visitation or time-sharing schedule, our highly experienced Orlando family law attorneys will be happy to help.

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Do grandparents have visitation or custody rights in Florida?
Grandparents will ordinarily be allowed visitation rights in Florida following a divorce. A grandparent’s right to custody of a child is more complex, however, as a child’s natural parents have a presumptive right to custody unless they have been found unfit or where exceptional circumstances exist. In such cases, and where it is found to be in the best interests of the child, a grandparent may be awarded custody. Pursuant to §752.01, F.S., after a divorce, grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights to their grandchildren and typically will be permitted reasonable visitation. Grandparents should be aware that it is the stated public policy in Florida that families should first attempt to resolve their differences over grandparent visitation within the family and if unable to do so, should participate as a family in formal or informal mediation prior to filing court proceedings. See §752.015, F.S. If a petition is ultimately filed, it must be served on both parents of the child and the family may still be referred to court ordered mediation to resolve these issues. In a court proceeding, grandparents must prove to the court that visitation is in the best interests of the child and that the child’s parents are divorced, one parent has abandoned the child, or the child was born out of wedlock. In considering the child’s interests, the court will take into consideration: (1) the willingness of the grandparent(s) to encourage a close relationship between the parent(s) and the child; (2) the quality and length of any previous relationship between the grandparent(s) and the child; (3) the child’s preference (if the child is sufficiently mature enough to express a preference); and the (4) physical and mental health of the child and the grandparent(s). Upon determining that grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child, the court will award reasonable visitation. If you have questions regarding grandparent visitation or custody, please schedule a consultation today with one of the experienced family law attorneys at The Roberts Law Firm in Orlando, at 407-426-6999.

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What should I do if my former spouse refuses to let me see my child?
Visitation rights are taken very seriously in the state of Florida. If your former spouse is refusing to comply with the time-sharing or visitation schedule set forth in your temporary order, settlement agreement or final judgment of dissolution, you may ask the court to enter an order directing immediate compliance. Any individual who refuses to comply with a court order can be held in contempt of court. Furthermore, under § 61.13(4)(c), F.S., a non-compliant parent may be subject to an order by the court for make-up visitation, payment of reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees, attendance at a court-ordered parenting class, community service, payment of the child’s travel expenses, modification of the parenting plan and any other sanction determined reasonable by the court. Even if a former spouse fails to pay court ordered child support, he or she may not be deprived of their scheduled visitation under § 61.13(4)(a), F.S. Under Florida law, the failure to comply with ordered or agreed-upon time-sharing and visitation is also an important factor which can be considered by the court in determining whether to modify or change child custody. Your relationship with your child is of the utmost importance. If your former spouse is interfering with your visitation rights, it is imperative that you take steps to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Contact us to discuss how best to address these important issues.

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What are my rights if my spouse plans to go to work and leave the children with a sitter, but I am available to be with them?
Pursuant to § 61.13(2)(c)(1), F.S., it is the public policy of this state that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a separation or divorce and parents are encouraged to share the rights and responsibilities of childrearing. Where no parenting plan or order of visitation is currently in place, the court shall approve a time-sharing schedule by considering a number of factors including the anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties, and the division of parental responsibilities before and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties. Where an established parenting plan and time-sharing schedule is in place, recent caselaw suggests that a spouse has no “right of first refusal to custody,” in instances where the custodial parent’s work schedule might affect their time with the child. See generally, N.H. v. J.E.T., 66 So.3d 1056 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2011). Parenting plans may be temporarily modified, however, when both parents agree in writing. It is always best to attempt to work out such issues with a former spouse or partner prior to turning to the court. For questions regarding your time-sharing or visitation agreement, contact our experienced staff and attorneys at The Roberts Law Firm.

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Contact our Orlando Child Visitation Rights Attorney

To arrange a consultation with an Orlando Divorce attorney who will protect your interests and advocate fiercely on your behalf, please contact The Roberts Law Firm today at (407) 426-6999 or fill out the online form provided on this page. We represent clients throughout Central Florida and have offices in Orlando and Kissimmee. Free parking on site.

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