Florida Senate - 2013                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 384
                                Barcode 791974                          
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/02/2013           .                                

       The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs (Clemens)
       recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 752.011, Florida Statutes, is created to
    6  read:
    7         752.011 Petition for grandparent visitation of a minor
    8  child.—A grandparent of a minor child whose parent or parents
    9  are deceased, missing, or in a permanent vegetative state may
   10  petition the court for court-ordered visitation with the
   11  grandchild under this section.
   12         (1) Upon the filing of a petition by a grandparent for
   13  visitation the court shall hold a preliminary hearing to
   14  determine whether the petitioner has made a prima facie showing
   15  of parental unfitness or significant harm to the child. Absent
   16  such a showing, the court shall dismiss the petition and shall
   17  award reasonable attorney fees and costs to be paid by the
   18  petitioner to the respondent.
   19         (2) If the court finds that there is prima facie evidence
   20  that a parent is unfit or that there is a danger of significant
   21  harm to the child, the court shall proceed toward a final
   22  hearing, may appoint a guardian ad litem, and shall order the
   23  matter to family mediation as provided in s. 752.015.
   24         (3) After conducting a final hearing on the issue of
   25  visitation, the court may award reasonable visitation to the
   26  grandparent with respect to the minor child if the court finds
   27  by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is unfit or that
   28  there is a danger of significant harm to the child, that
   29  visitation is in the best interest of the minor child, and that
   30  the visitation will not materially harm the parent-child
   31  relationship.
   32         (4) In assessing the best interest of the child under
   33  subsection (3), the court shall consider the totality of the
   34  circumstances affecting the mental and emotional well-being of
   35  the minor child, including:
   36         (a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing
   37  between the minor child and the grandparent, including those
   38  resulting from the relationship that had been previously allowed
   39  by the child’s parent.
   40         (b) The length and quality of the previous relationship
   41  between the minor child and the grandparent, including the
   42  extent to which the grandparent was involved in providing
   43  regular care and support for the child.
   44         (c) Whether the grandparent established ongoing personal
   45  contact with the minor child before the death of the parent.
   46         (d) The reasons that the surviving parent made the decision
   47  to end contact or visitation between the minor child and the
   48  grandparent.
   49         (e) Whether there has been demonstrable significant mental
   50  or emotional harm to the minor child as a result of disruption
   51  in the family unit, for which the child derived support and
   52  stability from the grandparental relationship, and whether the
   53  continuation of that support and stability is likely to prevent
   54  further harm.
   55         (f) The existence or threat to the minor child of mental
   56  injury as defined in s. 39.01.
   57         (g) The present mental, physical, and emotional health of
   58  the minor child.
   59         (h) The present mental, physical, and emotional health of
   60  the grandparent.
   61         (i) The recommendations of the minor child’s guardian ad
   62  litem, if one is appointed.
   63         (j) The results of any psychological evaluation of the
   64  minor child.
   65         (k) The preference of the minor child if the child is
   66  determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.
   67         (l) A written testamentary statement by the deceased parent
   68  regarding visitation with the grandparent. The absence of such a
   69  testamentary statement does not provide evidence that the
   70  deceased parent would have objected to the requested visitation.
   71         (m) Such other factors as the court considers necessary in
   72  making its determination.
   73         (5) In assessing material harm to the parent-child
   74  relationship under subsection (3), the court shall consider the
   75  totality of the circumstances affecting the parent-child
   76  relationship, including:
   77         (a) Whether there have been previous disputes between the
   78  grandparent and the parent over childrearing or other matters
   79  related to the care and upbringing of the minor child.
   80         (b) Whether visitation would materially interfere with or
   81  compromise parental authority.
   82         (c) Whether visitation can be arranged in a manner that
   83  does not materially detract from the parent-child relationship,
   84  including the quantity of time available for enjoyment of the
   85  parent-child relationship and any other consideration related to
   86  disruption of the schedule and routines of the parent and the
   87  minor child.
   88         (d) Whether visitation is being sought for the primary
   89  purpose of continuing or establishing a relationship with the
   90  minor child with the intent that the child benefit from the
   91  relationship.
   92         (e) Whether the requested visitation would expose the minor
   93  child to conduct, moral standards, experiences, or other factors
   94  that are inconsistent with influences provided by the parent.
   95         (f) The nature of the relationship between the parent and
   96  the grandparent.
   97         (g) The reasons that the parent made the decision to end
   98  contact or visitation between the minor child and the
   99  grandparent which was previously allowed by the parent.
  100         (h) The psychological toll of visitation disputes on the
  101  minor child.
  102         (i) Such other factors as the court considers necessary in
  103  making its determination.
  104         (6) Part II of chapter 61, the Uniform Child Custody
  105  Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, applies to actions brought
  106  under this section.
  107         (7) If separate actions under this section and s. 61.13 are
  108  pending concurrently, the courts are strongly encouraged to
  109  consolidate the actions in order to minimize the burden of
  110  litigation of grandparent visitation on the minor child and the
  111  other parties.
  112         (8) An order for grandparent visitation may be modified
  113  upon a showing by the person petitioning for modification that a
  114  substantial change in circumstances has occurred and that
  115  modification of visitation is in the best interest of the minor
  116  child.
  117         (9) An original action requesting visitation under this
  118  section may be filed by a grandparent only once during any 2
  119  year period, except on good cause shown that the minor child is
  120  suffering or threatened with suffering demonstrable significant
  121  mental or emotional harm caused by a parental decision to deny
  122  visitation between a minor child and the grandparent, which was
  123  not known to the grandparent at the time of filing an earlier
  124  action.
  125         (10) This section does not provide for grandparent
  126  visitation with a minor child placed for adoption under chapter
  127  63, except as provided in s. 752.071 with respect to adoption by
  128  a stepparent or close relative.
  129         (11) Venue shall be in the county where the minor child
  130  primarily resides, unless venue is otherwise governed by chapter
  131  39, chapter 61, or chapter 63.
  132         Section 2. Section 752.015, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  133  read:
  134         752.015 Mediation of visitation disputes.—It shall be the
  135  public policy of this state that families resolve differences
  136  over grandparent visitation within the family. It shall be the
  137  further public policy of this state that when families are
  138  unable to resolve differences relating to grandparent visitation
  139  that the family participate in any formal or informal mediation
  140  services that may be available. If When families are unable to
  141  resolve differences relating to grandparent visitation and a
  142  petition is filed pursuant to s. 752.011 s. 752.01, the court
  143  shall, if such services are available in the circuit, refer the
  144  case to family mediation in accordance with the Florida Family
  145  Law Rules of Procedure rules promulgated by the Supreme Court.
  146         Section 3. Section 752.071, Florida Statutes, is created to
  147  read:
  148         752.071 Effect of adoption by stepparent or close
  149  relative.—After the adoption of a minor child by a stepparent or
  150  close relative, the stepparent or close relative may petition
  151  the court to terminate an order granting grandparent visitation
  152  under this chapter which was entered before the adoption. The
  153  court may terminate the order unless the grandparent is able to
  154  show that the criteria of s. 752.011 authorizing the visitation
  155  continue to be satisfied.
  156         Section 4. Subsection (45) of section 39.01, Florida
  157  Statutes, is amended to read:
  158         39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
  159  context otherwise requires:
  160         (45) “Next of kin” means an adult relative of a child who
  161  is the child’s brother, sister, grandparent, great-grandparent,
  162  aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
  163         Section 5. Section 39.509, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  164  read:
  165         39.509 Grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ Grandparents
  166  rights.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a maternal
  167  or paternal grandparent or great-grandparent as well as a
  168  stepgrandparent or step-great-grandparent is entitled to
  169  reasonable visitation with his or her grandchild or great
  170  grandchild who has been adjudicated a dependent child and taken
  171  from the physical custody of the parent unless the court finds
  172  that such visitation is not in the best interest of the child or
  173  that such visitation would interfere with the goals of the case
  174  plan. Reasonable visitation may be unsupervised and, where
  175  appropriate and feasible, may be frequent and continuing. Any
  176  order for visitation or other contact must conform to the
  177  provisions of s. 39.0139.
  178         (1) Grandparent or great-grandparent visitation may take
  179  place in the home of the grandparent or great-grandparent unless
  180  there is a compelling reason for denying such a visitation. The
  181  department’s caseworker shall arrange the visitation to which a
  182  grandparent or great-grandparent is entitled pursuant to this
  183  section. The state shall not charge a fee for any costs
  184  associated with arranging the visitation. However, the
  185  grandparent or great-grandparent shall pay for the child’s cost
  186  of transportation when the visitation is to take place in the
  187  grandparent’s or great-grandparent’s home. The caseworker shall
  188  document the reasons for any decision to restrict a
  189  grandparent’s or great-grandparent’s visitation.
  190         (2) A grandparent or great-grandparent entitled to
  191  visitation pursuant to this section shall not be restricted from
  192  appropriate displays of affection to the child, such as
  193  appropriately hugging or kissing his or her grandchild or great
  194  grandchild. Gifts, cards, and letters from the grandparent or
  195  great-grandparent and other family members shall not be denied
  196  to a child who has been adjudicated a dependent child.
  197         (3) Any attempt by a grandparent or great-grandparent to
  198  facilitate a meeting between the child who has been adjudicated
  199  a dependent child and the child’s parent or legal custodian, or
  200  any other person in violation of a court order shall
  201  automatically terminate future visitation rights of the
  202  grandparent or great-grandparent.
  203         (4) When the child has been returned to the physical
  204  custody of his or her parent, the visitation rights granted
  205  pursuant to this section shall terminate.
  206         (5) The termination of parental rights does not affect the
  207  rights of grandparents or great-grandparents unless the court
  208  finds that such visitation is not in the best interest of the
  209  child or that such visitation would interfere with the goals of
  210  permanency planning for the child.
  211         (6) In determining whether grandparental or great
  212  grandparental visitation is not in the child’s best interest,
  213  consideration may be given to the following:
  214         (a) The finding of guilt, regardless of adjudication, or
  215  entry or plea of guilty or nolo contendere to charges under the
  216  following statutes, or similar statutes of other jurisdictions:
  217  s. 787.04, relating to removing a minor child minors from the
  218  state or concealing a minor child minors contrary to court
  219  order; s. 794.011, relating to sexual battery; s. 798.02,
  220  relating to lewd and lascivious behavior; chapter 800, relating
  221  to lewdness and indecent exposure; s. 826.04, relating to
  222  incest; or chapter 827, relating to the abuse of children.
  223         (b) The designation by a court as a sexual predator as
  224  defined in s. 775.21 or a substantially similar designation
  225  under laws of another jurisdiction.
  226         (c) A report of abuse, abandonment, or neglect under ss.
  227  415.101-415.113 or this chapter and the outcome of the
  228  investigation concerning such report.
  229         Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
  230  39.801, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  231         39.801 Procedures and jurisdiction; notice; service of
  232  process.—
  233         (3) Before the court may terminate parental rights, in
  234  addition to the other requirements set forth in this part, the
  235  following requirements must be met:
  236         (a) Notice of the date, time, and place of the advisory
  237  hearing for the petition to terminate parental rights and a copy
  238  of the petition must be personally served upon the following
  239  persons, specifically notifying them that a petition has been
  240  filed:
  241         1. The parents of the child.
  242         2. The legal custodians of the child.
  243         3. If the parents who would be entitled to notice are dead
  244  or unknown, a living relative of the child, unless upon diligent
  245  search and inquiry no such relative can be found.
  246         4. Any person who has physical custody of the child.
  247         5. Any grandparent or great-grandparent entitled to
  248  priority for adoption under s. 63.0425.
  249         6. Any prospective parent who has been identified under s.
  250  39.503 or s. 39.803.
  251         7. The guardian ad litem for the child or the
  252  representative of the guardian ad litem program, if the program
  253  has been appointed.
  255  The document containing the notice to respond or appear must
  256  contain, in type at least as large as the type in the balance of
  257  the document, the following or substantially similar language:
  263  NOTICE.”
  264         Section 7. Subsection (1) of section 63.0425, Florida
  265  Statutes, is amended to read:
  266         63.0425 Grandparent’s or great-grandparent’s right to
  267  notice.—
  268         (1) If a child has lived with a grandparent or great
  269  grandparent for at least 6 months within the 24-month period
  270  immediately preceding the filing of a petition for termination
  271  of parental rights pending adoption, the adoption entity shall
  272  provide notice to that grandparent or great-grandparent of the
  273  hearing on the petition.
  274         Section 8. Subsection (2) of section 63.172, Florida
  275  Statutes, is amended to read:
  276         63.172 Effect of judgment of adoption.—
  277         (2) If one or both parents of a child die without the
  278  relationship of parent and child having been previously
  279  terminated and a spouse of the living parent or a close relative
  280  of the child thereafter adopts the child, the child’s right of
  281  inheritance from or through the deceased parent is unaffected by
  282  the adoption and, unless the court orders otherwise, the
  283  adoption does will not terminate any grandparental or great
  284  grandparental rights delineated under chapter 752. For purposes
  285  of this subsection, a close relative of a child is the child’s
  286  brother, sister, grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
  287         Section 9. Sections 752.01 and 752.07, Florida Statutes,
  288  are repealed.
  289         Section 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.
  291  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  292         And the title is amended as follows:
  293         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  294  and insert:
  295                        A bill to be entitled                      
  296         An act relating to grandparent visitation rights;
  297         creating s. 752.011, F.S.; authorizing the grandparent
  298         of a minor child to petition a court for visitation
  299         under certain circumstances; requiring a preliminary
  300         hearing; providing for the payment of attorney fees
  301         and costs by a petitioner who fails to make a prima
  302         facie showing of harm; authorizing grandparent
  303         visitation if the court makes specified findings;
  304         providing factors for court consideration; providing
  305         for application of the Uniform Child Custody
  306         Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act; encouraging the
  307         consolidation of certain concurrent actions; providing
  308         for modification of an order awarding grandparent
  309         visitation; limiting the frequency of actions seeking
  310         visitation; limiting application to a minor child
  311         placed for adoption; providing for venue; amending s.
  312         752.015, F.S.; conforming references; creating s.
  313         752.071, F.S.; providing conditions under which a
  314         court may terminate a grandparent visitation order
  315         upon adoption of a minor child by a stepparent or
  316         close relative; amending s. 39.01, F.S.; revising the
  317         definition of “next of kin” to include great
  318         grandparents for purposes of various proceedings
  319         relating to children; amending s. 39.509, F.S.;
  320         providing for visitation rights of great-grandparents;
  321         amending ss. 39.801 and 63.0425, F.S.; providing for a
  322         great-grandparent’s right to notice of adoption;
  323         amending s. 63.172, F.S.; conforming provisions;
  324         repealing s. 752.01, F.S., relating to actions by a
  325         grandparent for visitation rights; repealing s.
  326         752.07, F.S., relating to the effect of adoption of a
  327         child by a stepparent on grandparent visitation
  328         rights; providing an effective date.