Manchester Grandparents Rights Attorneys

Unfortunately, many grandparents find themselves in a situation in which they are denied or restricted access to their grandchildren. While there may be a variety of reasons for the situation, grandparents often wonder if they have any legal recourse. The answer is yes.

Grandparent Visitation Rights in Tennessee

Tennessee respects the nature of a grandparent’s familial relationship with his or her grandchildren, but the laws and court take many things into consideration when determining if grandparent visitations are the best thing for a child. When the mother and father are married and are considered to be fit parents, the law automatically presumes that their decisions regarding child-rearing are in the child’s best interest. But there are a few situations that can warrant a change in that decision.

Who can Petition for Grandparent Visitation?

Grandparents have the right to petition for visitation under Tennessee laws, however, the success of the petition is rarely as easy as the petition itself. Be prepared to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable, experienced family attorney before determining what course of action is best for your situation.

In Tennessee, the court cannot grant a grandparent’s visitation request over the parent’s obligation. This authority only exists when the family unit is not intact. If the parent does not oppose a visitation plan , the court can agree to order the visitation, but if the marriage is intact and the parents refuse, a hearing on the matter can only be held under the following situations.

  • The death of a parent

  • A parent has been missing for at least six months

  • The child’s parents weren’t ever married or are no longer married

  • The grandparent has a visitation order from another state

  • The child has lived with the grandparent for at least 12 months before being removed by a parent from the grandparent’s home

  • The child and grandparent had a significant relationship with the child for at least 12 months before the parent put a stop to the grandparent’s access

The best possible outcomes in these hearings occur when an attorney is involved, and the grandparents are well-prepared for a hearing.

What the Court Considers During a Hearing

When a grandparent is granted a hearing for visitation, the court will then consider several things . The following three things can make or break a case for grandparent visitation:

  • Would the child be harmed if the relationship ceased? The court must determine if there is danger of substantial harm to the children if the visitation to the grandparent were stopped. The harm to the child must be likely and not just a mere possibility.

  • Does the grandparent have a significant relationship with the children? Grandparents must prove that the child has resided with them for six months or more, the grandparents acted as caretaker full-time for the child for a minimum of six months, or the grandparent had regular visitations with the child for at least a year.

  • Is visitation in the best interest of the child? For grandparent visitation to be awarded, the visitation must be in the best interest of the child. The court will consider the duration and quality of the relationship, emotional ties, lingering hostility, parenting time for divorced parents, the child’s preference, deceased or missing parents, whether the petition for visitation was filed in good faith, whether the parents are unreasonably denying visitation with the child, unfit parents, and whether there is a significant relationship.

Consult with a Family Attorney

If you believe that visitation with your grandchild has been unfairly restricted or denied, you may be eligible to file for visitation rights under Tennessee law. An experienced family attorney at Burch & Lockhart can review your situation and determine if a lawsuit is the best option for you. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.

e, or call 931-723-7997 for a free initial consultation.