In most family law cases that involve the custody of a child, the parents to that child will be allowed to retain their rights to raise their child in their homes and according to their parenting preferences. Florida parents may be required to share physical and legal custody of their children, but it is generally the case that a child will be placed in the care of at least one of their parents. This determination will be made based on the child’s best interests.
From time to time, though, a child’s immediate family may not provide them with sufficient support. In cases such as these a court may evaluate how best to serve the child’s best interests and may determine that their interests will be served by living with a third party. In third party custody cases it is often a close family member such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent who is awarded custodial power of the child.
A child may be placed in the care of a third party if a court determines that neither parent is capable of taking care of the youth. A third party may petition a court for custody and may be able to challenge the child’s parents’ claims that the child’s interests are met in their homes.
Most divorce and family law cases will not involve third party claims but Florida parents may find themselves facing grandparent visitation petitions after their divorces or separations have been finalized. Like the third party custody petitions mentioned above, grandparent visitation petitions will be honored if courts determine that the children’s best interests are met by allowing their grandparents to have regular time with them.