Grandparents pursuing additional visitation with their grandchild(ren) need to understand the rules for grandparent visitation in Tennessee. There is no federal law governing grandparent visitation rights, so the parents’ wishes will usually win in a court battle. Although parents are more likely to win, grandparents may get visitation rights if it is proven to be in the child’s best interests.
For a court to consider visitation rights for grandparents, the grandparent must prove at least one or more of these factors are present:
- One of the child’s parents is deceased
- The parents are divorced, separated, or never legally married
- One of the parents has been missing for six months or longer
- A court in another state has required grandparent visitation
- The child lived in the grandparent’s home for a least a year and was removed by the parent(s)
- The child and grandparent have an important bond and breaking off the relationship could harm the child
For the last factor, the grandparent will need to prove actual harm. It is not enough that the child will miss the grandparent. The grandparent will have to prove that the child will suffer emotional damage if the relationship ends, the grandparent was the primary caregiver for at least six months and the child will be traumatized from the emotional loss, or the loss of the relationship will put the child in danger or risk of harm.
Grandparents can have a major impact in the lives of their grandchildren. It is very common for grandparent visitation to be cut short or completely cut off when the parents divorce or when one parent dies. In the state of Tennessee, grandparents have legitimate standing to seek visitation rights with their grandchild(ren) in certain situations. In the end, the best interests of the child will determine the extent and frequency of the visitation.
Contact Murfreesboro Family Law at (615) 890-3656 to discuss your case with one of our experienced and skilled attorneys. We are here to listen to every detail and we will work with you to form a strategic plan to meet your needs.