What are the basics of Tennessee grandparents' rights?
Tennessee grandparents may have the legal right to seek visitation with their grandchildren.
February 20, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- What are the basics of Tennessee grandparents' rights?
Article provided by Toppenberg & Burke, P.C.
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If you have grandchildren, you know how important they are to you, and what an important part you play in their lives. You can't imagine anything ever interfering with the loving relationship you have with your granddaughters and grandsons. Unfortunately, sometimes, if a marriage ends, a family argument takes place or a relationship sours, grandparents may find themselves cut off from their grandchildren.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you just have to accept the circumstance and lose contact with your grandchildren. Tennessee law does allow grandparents to request visitation with their grandkids in certain circumstances. It is important to note, however, that not every grandparent will have the legal right to request visitation time, and there is no guarantee that any such requests will be granted.
The state's grandparent visitation laws are primarily found in the Tennessee Code Annotated, Sections 36-6-306 and 36-6-307. These statutes set forth the circumstances in which grandparents are allowed to petition the court for visitation rights with their grandchildren, and the criteria which judges must consider when making determinations about these emotional issues.
While it is true that the legislature does recognize the importance of the grandparent/grandchild relationship, it doesn't want to infringe upon a parent's right to make decisions on behalf of his or her child. That is why there are a limited number of circumstances in which grandparent visitation motions are entertained. These include:
-One parent passing away
-The parents being divorced or separated
-The parents were never married
-One parent has been missing for more than six months
-The child lived with the grandparent for a minimum of 12 months prior to the point when one or both parents started denying visitation to the grandparent
-A court in another state has already granted the grandparent visitation
-The child and grandparent had a "significant existing relationship" for at least 12 months prior to a parent limiting visitation, and the ending of that relationship would cause harm to the child
-Contact was not cut off between grandparent and grandchild due to abuse, neglect or danger of another substantial harm to the child
A key note for grandparents to understand is that, under Tennessee law, if a child is adopted outside of the family (i.e., by a person other than a stepparent or relative), grandparents no longer have visitation rights and, in the majority of circumstances, will not be allowed to petition the court for visitation in the future.
Clearly, there is still more to know about Tennessee grandparent rights than can be mentioned here. Do you have questions about seeking visitation with your grandchildren? Would you like to learn more about protecting the relationship you currently have with your grandkids? Are you worried about the potential harm that it will cause your granddaughter or grandson to not see you? For more information about Tennessee grandparent visitation rights, speak with a family law attorney in your area.
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