Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody

Grandparent visitation rights in Florida are generally restricted due to the constitutional right to privacy that parents have in raising their children. However, a 2017 case decided by the Florida Supreme Court opens the door to visitation for grandparents who obtain a child custody order in another state. 

In the case Ledoux-Nottingham v. Downs, 210 So.3d 1217 (Fla. 2017), the Florida Supreme Court considered the conflict between different Florida appellate courts on the issue of enforcement of out-of-state visitation orders for grandparents. In this case, after the death of the former husband, the former wife moved from Colorado to Florida with the parties' children. The children's grandparents filed an action in Colorado to establish visitation with the children. 

To oppose the grandparents' action, the former wife filed a petition in Florida to domesticate her Colorado divorce judgment and for a determination that the grandparents had no visitation rights under Florida law. Ultimately, the Colorado court entered an order granting visitation rights to the grandparents which the Florida court found to be enforceable. The former wife appealed, stating Florida law does not permit grandparent visitation over the objection of a parent based on the parent's constitutional right to privacy. 

In upholding the decision to honor the Colorado visitation order, the Florida Supreme Court distinguished that the question before the court was "not whether the Grandparents are entitled to visitation under Florida law, but whether Florida is required to enforce the Colorado order despite the fact that entry of a similar judgment by a Florida court under the same circumstances would be prohibited by the Florida Constitution." 

Grandparent visitation rights require specific analysis on a case-by-case basis. A consultation with a Miami child custody lawyer may help you determine your rights and obligations when grandparent visitation is at issue.