Advocating to Protect the Legal Rights of Grandparents and Their Grandchildren
In many cases, the bond between grandparents and their grandkids is nearly as strong as between parents and children. However, many situations arise between parents, such as divorce or legal separation, which lead the mother or father to restrict grandparents from having contact with their grandchildren.
Conversely, in our modern world, many grandparents have stepped in to fill the role of caregiver because the parents cannot fulfill their obligations and wish to obtain custody of their grandchildren.
Nevertheless, legal options are available to a grandfather or grandmother to try and exercise their rights if their case meets specific legal criteria.
If you are a grandparent interested in learning more about your legal rights and options, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, TN, and ask to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. A qualified legal team member will gladly answer your questions and determine the available legal strategies.
Who Are Considered to Be Grandparents in Tennessee?
It is essential that anyone who is considering legal action to try and fight for grandparents’ rights understand what Tennessee laws consider to be a grandparent. It is also important to note that the age of a grandparent is not a sufficient justification for the court to reject a petition asking for the right to see a grandchild.
Furthermore, the law does not have a partiality that grants legal preference to maternal grandparents over paternal grandparents regarding their trying to obtain custody of grandchildren.
Under Tennessee law, grandparents include:
- Biological parents
- Spouses of biological parents (step-grandparents)
- Parents of an adoptive parent.
State law goes even further by stipulating that great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents also have the legal ability to try and petition for visitation or custody.
If you have questions about who qualifies as a grandparent in Tennessee, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC, and ask to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable grandparents’ rights attorney who can answer your legal questions.
When Can Grandparents Request Visitation Rights in Tennessee?
One of the most predominant reasons that grandparents seek visitation rights is because one parent, such as an ex-daughter or son-in-law, or perhaps both parents have decided to limit their contact with their grandchildren. Often, grandparents try to work out an amicable solution with the child’s parents to avoid legal action.
However, if grandparents cannot resolve their issues, they often are forced to turn to the courts to try and find a way to have contact with their grandchildren.
The Tennessee Grandparents Visitation Statute dictates that a court may review a grandparent’s petition for visitation if specific factors are present, which include:
- The child’s parents are unwed, legally separated, or divorced.
- One parent of an unmarried minor child is deceased.
- A parent has been missing for at least 6 months.
- The child has resided with the grandparent(s) for at least 12 months before a parent removed the child from their care.
- The grandparent has established a close bond with their grandchild for a period of at least 12 months, and it is in the child’s best interest to maintain the relationship.
Finally, a court where a child currently resides may review a pre-existing court order from another state granting a grandparent visitation rights.
Regardless of the circumstances, any grandparent who wishes to pursue grandparents’ rights must have solid legal representation from a family law attorney. A family law attorney understands the legal complexities of grandparents seeking the right to see or obtain custody of their grandchildren and knows what it takes to get results.
When Can a Grandparent Seek Custody of Their Grandchild in Tennessee?
Grandparents’ rights can often go beyond just trying to have contact or maintain a bond with their grandchildren. In other cases, grandparents realize they must seek temporary guardianship or legal custody to protect their grandchildren’s health and well-being.
Temporary guardianship may be a viable option for grandparents whose children acknowledge they cannot care for their children. Temporary guardianship gives grandparents the legal right to make decisions that the parents would typically make. Examples include legal, medical, or educational decisions.
It should be stated that temporary guardianship depends on the parents agreeing to the arrangement, and state law gives them the legal right to revoke the guardianship for any reason. If the parent(s) suffer from substance abuse or mental health issues, grandparents may need to consider filing for custody of their grandchildren.
In cases where the parent(s) have demonstrated they cannot care for their children, grandparents may need to seek legal custody. Any grandparent who wishes to seek custody of their grandchild must file a petition with the Juvenile Court contending that their grandchild is being abused or neglected by their parents and that they are willing to care for the child long-term.
At the same time, grandparents seeking custody should be prepared to go to court and prove the allegations of child abuse or neglect they have made against the parents. Some examples of child abuse or neglect include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Substance abuse
- Child abandonment
- Neglect or exploitation
What Are the Benefits of Hiring Your Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer to Help Me With My Legal Needs?
One of the most challenging situations for a grandparent seeking visitation is to seek legal representation to protect their rights. It frequently involves a grandparent going up against their own child to seek visitation or legal custody.
Nevertheless, many grandparents in Tennessee who have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their issues with their children or in-laws realize they have no choice but to pursue legal action.
If you are a grandparent who has been denied visitation or feel your grandchild’s safety is in jeopardy, you must seek qualified legal representation immediately.
Garner Law Firm, PLLC, of Sumner County, is dedicated to helping families resolve their legal issues. Our highly trained legal team has extensive experience helping grandparents resolve their legal issues and obtaining favorable client results.
We recognize that dealing with family legal issues is highly stressful and overwhelming. For this reason, our law firm strives to treat clients and their family members with the respect and compassion they deserve.
Contact the Hendersonville, TN, law offices of Garner Law Firm, PLLC, at 615-502-4336 and ask to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal needs and learn what legal options may be available.