Protect Your Rights

Clinton, Tennessee Legal Blog

In Tennessee, the law recognizes the unique and influential role grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives.

Grandparents can seek visitation rights or even custody of their grandchildren if it serves the best interest of the child.

Understanding visitation rights

The court considers several factors to determine grandparents’ visitation rights, including the existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the emotional ties and the impact on the child’s well-being. The law specifically allows for grandparent visitation under the following scenarios:

  • The child has lost their parents
  • The parents have divorced, separated, or never married each other
  • The parents have gone missing for six months or more
  • A court in another state has required the grandparents to have visitation rights

Additionally, if the grandchild has lived with the grandparent for at least one year before the parents took them away, the grandparents can claim visitation rights.

Criteria for seeking custody

Seeking custody is a more complex process than visitation and requires the grandparent to demonstrate a significant reason for such a request. The court will only consider granting custody to grandparents if it believes doing so is in the child’s best interest. This might happen if the child’s parents cannot provide a safe and stable environment or if there are concerns about the child’s welfare in their current living situation.

The best interest of the child

In all cases, the child’s best interest is the main concern for the court. This includes ensuring the child’s safety, health and emotional well-being. The court will carefully consider the child’s need for stability against the benefits of being under the grandparents’ care.

Tennessee law aims to balance the rights of the parents with the welfare of the child, and grandparents are part of this important process.