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How do grandparents gain visitation rights in Tennessee?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2022 | Child Custody, Family Law

After a divorce or split between Tennessee parents, grandparents may no longer find it easy to see their grandchildren. However, depending on the circumstances, they can gain visitation rights.

Grandparents’ and visitation laws

When it comes to children, parents have the right to make decisions. Unfortunately, this sometimes leaves grandparents out of the equation. The court always considers what’s in the child’s best interests. Usually, it will leave such decisions to the parents, but in some situations, the grandparents can fight to gain the right to enjoy visitation with their grandchildren.

When grandparents are awarded visitation

Usually, grandparents can have visitation with their grandchildren unless the parent objects. If there is a dispute between the parent and grandparents or certain other factors are involved, the court may award visitation or custody to the grandparents. Those situations include the following:

  • One or both parents are deceased
  • The parents are divorced, separated or were never married
  • The parents have been missing for at least six months
  • A court in another state has awarded visitation rights to the grandparents
  • The child lived in the grandparents’ home for at least six months but was removed by the parents
  • There was a significant bond lasting at least 12 months, and terminating the relationship would cause distress

If the grandparents want visitation with the child, and the parent or parents have refused, they must petition the court with a request. The petition should be filed in the district where the child lives. The grandparents also have the burden of proof when requesting visitation. The court will consider any pertinent factors when deciding.

Grandparents having visitation may be in the child’s best interests. The court bases its decision on those factors.