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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Rights of grandparents for visitation and custody

Although Tennessee family courts hear numerous cases related to the visitation and custody rights of parents, these issues can also be important to grandparents. In some family situations, the parents of a child might deny grandparents access to that child. Although litigation can be stressful and difficult, there are some cases in which a grandparent might have grounds for pursuing their own visitation rights. In serious situations, a grandparent might even seek custody of a grandchild.

The best interest of a child is typically the predominant concern of a judge hearing a child custody or visitation case. The prior relationship between the child and grandparent in question could play a role in a visitation case. The state with jurisdiction over a child's case would use area standards to assess issues such as the marital status of the child's parents, the prior residence of the child with the grandparent or the death of a parent. Death of a parent might result in that party's parent being able to obtain court-ordered visitation with their grandchild.

If parental rights to a grandchild have been terminated through adoption, a grandparent could lose all rights to interact with or visit that child. There are often exceptions as in cases involving stepparent adoptions. Adoption by a different grandparent might also preserve the other grandparents' rights to contact and visitation. However, these issues can vary from one state to another.

Anyone dealing with custody or visitation questions might find it helpful to discuss their concerns with a family lawyer. An individual who is experienced in handling such cases could evaluate an individual's situation to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a possible legal action. In some cases, prompt action might be warranted to protect a child, but in other cases, negotiation and good communication might save the time and money involved in bringing a case to court.

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